Four Simple Syrup Recipes and a Grenadine to Kick Start Your SummerPosted on May 31, 2011 | 38 comments
As it gets hot out we’re all reaching for cold beverages to cool us down. Here, four simple syrup recipes to sweeten any drink, from a sparkling non-alcoholic mint lemonade to a boozy Mojito. Plain simple syrup is a 1:1 ratio of sugar and water, simmered until the sugar dissolves. This is crucial for sweetening cold beverages since sugar crystals won’t dissolve easily in icy liquid. Simple syrup is a bar staple, used in ice coffees and cocktails alike. While I’m sure you can buy it bottled at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, it takes just minutes to make at home.
And once you have this easy base down, the possibilities to play are endless. Make the simple syrup, add whatever flavoring you want, remove from the heat, and allow to steep. You can even play around with what kind of sugar you use (I did!). Syrups are a great way to preserve summer’s herb bounty.
For a recent cocktail get together I made three variations, each with a particular drink in mind. Ginger syrup was created to make a ginger-lemonade highball. Mint syrup was to sweeten a South Side. And Sage simple syrup was for a personal creation, an arak cocktail flavored with grapefruit and sage. As the night went on, however, we got creative and new cocktails were born. And in the days that have followed I’ve discovered their infinite uses to flavor sparkling, non-alcoholic drinks that instantly energize and refresh me.
Oh, and I made grenadine as well. It’s easy, really nothing more than a simple syrup made with pomegranate juice in place of water and a 2:1 ratio instead of 1:1. And like that, a Shirley Temple awaits! Or a Rob Roy, if that’s more your style.
For now I will leave you with the syrup recipes and let your creativity get the best of you. Over the next few days, maybe even weeks, I’ll post drink recipes that take advantage of these great flavor boosters, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. Perhaps I’ll launch a Friday cocktail post to start all of our weekends off right. What recipes would you use these syrups in?
And I’m not the only one thinking about ice cold summer drinks. The blogosphere is abuzz with delightfully refreshing beverages that you want to drink right through the screen. Two weeks ago Smitten Kitchen posted her Vermontucky Lemonade and I’m still thinking about it. On the non-alcoholic front, Bitchin’ Camero shared her frosty Mint Limeade, Gluten Free A-Z has Frozen Watermelon Smoothies, Kitchen Konfidence posted his Watermelon Basil Aqua Fresca, and Never Enough Thyme penned a recipe for Strawberry Lemonade.
For you Boozehounds, Kitchen Riffs wrote about the classic Pimm’s Cup and Cookin’ Canuck goes classic summer with Frozen Strawberry and Lime Daquiris. Oh, and a month ago The Yellow House enchanted me with a rhubarb-prosecco cocktail. Even Food52 is in tune, with this week’s challenge being “Your Best Soda Fountain Recipe.” What summer drink recipe have you posted recently? Leave the link in the comments so I can check it out! Cheers!
All four recipes yield about 1½ cups. They can easily be doubled or halved as long as you keep the 1:1 (or for grenadine 2:1) ratio.
Plain Simple Syrup
1 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan or pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Stir occasionally, until the sugar is fully dissolved. (Be careful not to leave the syrup unattended or the sugar may burn or it may become too thick.) Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Transfer to a glass jar or bottle (I find a funnel useful in these instances) and store in the refrigerator.
Ginger Simple Syrup
1 cup water
1 cup demera sugar
7 ounces fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
Make simple syrup as advised above. Add the ginger to the pot, stir, and remove from the heat. Allow to steep for about 15 minutes. Strain the ginger out and allow the syrup to cool to room temperature. Transfer to a glass jar or bottle and store in the refrigerator.
Mint Simple Syrup
Make simple syrup as advised above. Add the mint to the pot, stir, and remove from the heat. Allow to steep for about 15 minutes. Strain the mint out and allow the syrup to cool to room temperature. Transfer to a glass jar or bottle and store in the refrigerator.
Sage Simple Syrup
1 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup roughly torn sage leaves
Make simple syrup as advised above. Add the sage to the pot, stir, and remove from the heat. Allow to steep for about 15 minutes. Strain the sage out and allow the syrup to cool to room temperature. Transfer to a glass jar or bottle and store in the refrigerator.
Adapted from Cocktail Chronicles
2 cups pomegranate juice
1 cup sugar
1 ounce vodka (optional)
Bring the pomegranate juice to a simmer until reduced by half. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. (At this point if you continue to simmer until it is reduced even further you will have pomegranate molasses.) Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Transfer to a glass jar or bottle. Top with a little vodka if you’d like (this acts as a preservative to extend the fridge life). Store in the refrigerator.