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(Not So) Simple, Flavored, & Spiced Syrups

265 posts in this topic

Andy, do you steep the spices directly in the syrup? Over heat? Over time?

I just crush the spices, toss them into the syrup as it comes to a simmer, simmer a couple of minutes then cover and remove from heat. Let it sit a few hours then strain and bottle. It lasts a few months at least in the walk-in, I make big batches at once since the flavor improves over time.


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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Chris:

Here's a recipe for a spiced simple I've used in the past. I generally let it cool overnight and then strain it, so as to allow the spices to steep for as long as possible and extract maximal flavor.

Spiced Dark Simple Syrup

1.25 cups water

3 cinnamon sticks, broken up

4 star anise

10 whole cloves

1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes

1 cup demerara sugar (I use Trader Joe's organic)

Bring water to a boil and add spices. Allow to boil for three minutes. Add sugar, stir to dissolve and allow to simmer for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off heat and allow to cool. Strain before using.

This recipe tends to change from time to time as well. I've added a couple of cardamom pods, black or pink peppercorns, some allspice berries, whatever. But this is the skeleton I work from most of the time. It works well with white granulated sugar too, I just like what the darker sugar brings to the party.


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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I've tweaked this lavender honey syrup from Art of the Bar to include Yunnan black tea. It's pretty simple: measuring by volume,

1 c hot water brought to the boil, steeped with

1 T tea leaves for 4 minutes. (No longer or you'll get ubertannins.) Add

1/2 c honey and

1/4 c dried lavender

Stir and let cool, then strain.

It needs more sugar, I think, or to be supplemented by rich simple, but it's a very interesting combination. Trying out possibilities, like this.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Over in the grenadine thread, I discuss using freeze reduction (aka the icewine method) to make a grenadine. Using that same method I've also made grapefruit and orange syrups. I get fresh squeezed, non-pasteurized juices from Central Market where they have a big juicer, freeze reduce twice or thrice to get the volume down to about half, then add an equal volume of sugar.

So it ends up being as sweet as 1:1 simple syrup plus all the sugar of the reduced juice. It seems to keep just as well as simple syrup, lasting several weeks at least. It can possibly last even longer, but I use it all up before then.

The grapefruit was interesting to sip on its own but pretty much loses all its character when mixed. The orange syrup, however, was quite a hit. It's an interesting substitute (or supplement) for drinks that have Cointreau or other triple secs. The margarita with orange syrup subbed for Cointreau was quite good: less alcoholic and a lot more fresh orange notes. When you use plain orange juice (say, in a Monkey Gland), it's always quite bland and watery but the orange syrup is so much more concentrated, and therefore more suited to mixing.

It's interesting that the freeze reduction method or boil reduction method that you typically use with grenadine are reduction methods while the more common method for pineapple is an infusion: leave pineapple chunks in simple syrup for 24 hours, than strain out. It's an infused syrup, as opposed to an infused spirit, which is a whole other thread.

My friends actually tried doing the pineapple syrup recipe described in Vintage Spirits with both the recommended 2:1 simple syrup and 1:1 simple syrup and the latter seemed to taste just as pineapple-y, if not more so. And being not as sweet, you can put twice as much in a drink than the 2:1 syrup. Perhaps it won't keep as long.

So that leads me to wonder instead of making a pineapple-infused syrup, what if I did a freeze reduction of pineapple juice? Pineapple is very difficult to juice on your own, but I can get it from Central Market by special request.

Or how about a grape syrup, essentially making your own icewine?

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For Kent-ucky Derby day, we made mint juleps with each of the grapefruit, pineapple, and orange syrups and they were all awesome. I think I did 4 oz Bulleit to 1.5 oz syrup. Most of the juleps you couldn't actually easily identify what fruit the syrup was, perhaps because of all the mint and bourbon, but damn did they all taste much, much better than using plain simple syrup.

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So that leads me to wonder instead of making a pineapple-infused syrup, what if I did a freeze reduction of pineapple juice? Pineapple is very difficult to juice on your own, but I can get it from Central Market by special request.

bostonapothecary is a step ahead of you on that front. It sounds like a great idea.


 

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Thanks for posting that. I wonder how it compares to the infusion method.

$8 for a gallon of pineapple juice is really good. I think Central Market wants to charge me something like $28 -- though I don't need a gallon if I'm just making syrup. Of course $1 a pineapple is also a whole lot cheaper than the $3 or so prices here, and that's on sale too.

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Thanks for posting that. I wonder how it compares to the infusion method.

$8 for a gallon of pineapple juice is really good. I think Central Market wants to charge me something like $28 -- though I don't need a gallon if I'm just making syrup. Of course $1 a pineapple is also a whole lot cheaper than the $3 or so prices here, and that's on sale too.

the pineapple syrup was a fun recipe and i used it quite a few times on a large scale for some catering. i'm sure the "pure juice method" (concentrated or not) is much more intense than the infusion method.

when you start to turn freeze concentrated juices into syrups its easy to make them aromatically too intense. it only takes a little more aroma to make the syrups really exciting.

now that spring is in full effect i've been having a lot of fun with strawberries... the basket press is the perfect tool.


abstract expressionist beverage compounder

creator of acquired tastes

bostonapothecary.com

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Thanks for posting that. I wonder how it compares to the infusion method.

$8 for a gallon of pineapple juice is really good. I think Central Market wants to charge me something like $28 -- though I don't need a gallon if I'm just making syrup. Of course $1 a pineapple is also a whole lot cheaper than the $3 or so prices here, and that's on sale too.

Latino markets, I think, are where you want to look for pineapples in Texas. Saw them 2/$3 around here not too long ago, and I'm not even sure that was a sale price.


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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Ack! There's "stuff" in my pineapple syrup!

On November 6, I made up a batch of Pineapple Syrup (4 cups sugar, 2 cups water, cubed whole pineapple, soak overnight and strain into bottle(s)). I topped it off with an ounce of Lemonhart 151 and mixed it in. I've been storing it in the fridge, but yesterday I noticed some filaments of brownish stuff at the bottom of the bottle.

Is this normal sediment? Mold? Is there even any way to tell? I was hoping this would last a few months in the fridge.

Thanks,

Dan

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Howdy. What are people using to filter their syrups (cinnamon, blackberry-habanero, etc.)? I've been using unbleached coffee filters, but they're too "filtery" -- very little gets through so it takes hours to filter a few ounces.

Is there a good cross between that and a strainer?

Thanks,

Dan

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Unbleached, Undyed, ultra thing Cotton dish towels

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Common metal fine mesh strainer. It works just fine for the syrups I'm making.

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Unbleached, Undyed, ultra thing Cotton dish towels

Common metal fine mesh strainer. It works just fine for the syrups I'm making.

Cheese or Muslin Cloth?

Thanks, all. I ended up giving up last night and poured the final 2/3 through a fine mesh strainer (twice) and it worked great. I'll try the cheesecloth and cotton too next time.

Dan

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For kicks, I was looking at making my first batch of true gum syrup/gomme syrup today. The recipe in Imbibe! calls for one third as much gum arabic as sugar (1 lb. of gum arabic to 3 lbs. of sugar), which seems like a lot of gum arabic. Is that what others are actually doing? I don't need such a big batch, so I can work with the amount of gum arabic I have, but I don't want to burn through my supply needlessly.


Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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There's a recipe I posted in one of these threads discussing gomme for a smaller batch size that has worked well for me and I seem to remember a couple others saying it worked well for them too. Unfortunately, I don't remember which thread it was in and my laptop is suffering technical difficulties (power supply/charger kicked the bucket) so, until I order a new one, I can't access any of my recipes and stuff that I have on there.

Just for fun, I'm planning on giving the "modern gomme syrup" from the willpowder site a try next time I make some. It uses LBG (in a much smaller amount) in place of arabic. Parting from tradition with food has never bothered me so I figure why not carry the same attitude with me while I delve into the world of drink.


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Thanks Tri2Cook. I'll poke around and see if I can find it. I actually have substantially more gum arabic than LBG, so that's probably still the way to go... for now, at least.


Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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So... that didn't go so well. I ended up going with the recipe in Imbibe!, but scaled down significantly. (Tri2Cook, I assume the recipe you were talking about was this one?) The gum solution was lumpy, and it took me a while to work out most of the lumps, and I think I evaporated too much water in that time. The resulting syrup was barely fluid while still warm, and is rock-solid at fridge temperature. Obviously I'm going to try to salvage it by reheating and adding more water, but of course I have no way of knowing how much I need to add. Kind of frustrated that I burned through half of my supply of gum arabic on a failed project. :hmmm:


Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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If you know how much sugar you added by weight, and how much gum you added by weight, subtract them both from the weight of your current batch, and that is how much water you have. Top it up from there.

Your Syrup should still be fluid at fridge-temp. Be sure to take time scumming off the gunk that floats to the top when you are simmering. This will give you a clear, consistent product without lumps. If everything was not flowing well, you likely did not have enough water. Figure out how much you burned off, add it to your batch, re-heat, and skim it mercilessly. If it is still isn't treating you right, your gum might have some impurities.

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That's the one Matt. I've used it many times since digging it out of my files and posting it here with no troubles. Sorry to hear things didn't go well with the recipe you used.

I have a pre-hydrated spray dried gum arabic I've been using lately that is much easier to disperse in liquid and hydrate than the other stuff. I don't really make gomme syrups very often but it's nice when I decide to.


Edited by Tri2Cook (log)

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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I thought the version of Raspberry Syrup I made for the Albemarle Fizz turned out rather well. Taking some cues from the discussion over in the Shrub topic.

Raspberry Syrup

1/2 cup Water

1 Cup Washed Raw Sugar

1 Cup Frozen Raspberries

1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar

Combine water and sugar in a saucepan over low heat. When sugar is dissolved, add raspberries and Balsamic Vinegar. Strain through chinois or cheesecloth, mashing to get as much of the liquid as possible. Cool and refrigerate. Makes about 12 ounces.

Obviously, you're not going to want to use a ridiculously expensive Balsamic for this, instead something young and fruity.


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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I bought some gula melaka—palm sugar from Malacca—while I was in Malaysia. Syrups with that are absolutely amazing, very rich with a bitter, smokey finish like chocolate or coffee.

Great for an Old Fashioned, but also excellent with rhum agricole. I tried some with Damoiseau blanc, and the spiciness of the rum pairs very well the gula—an interesting combination of East and West Indies.

I wonder if palm sugars from other places like India are much different.

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OK, what gives, I thought a 2:1 syrup was essentially immune to mold? My 2:1 piloncillo syrup has barely been sitting around a week in a sterilized container, and the surface is COVERED in mold!

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OK, what gives, I thought a 2:1 syrup was essentially immune to mold? My 2:1 piloncillo syrup has barely been sitting around a week in a sterilized container, and the surface is COVERED in mold!

How did you measure? By volume? Piloncillo has a pretty significantly different density than granulated sugar in all forms. 2:1 is pretty reliably shelf-stable when done by weight, and doing volume measures with common types of sugar is pretty dang close to being identical to weight measures.


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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