What I love most about simple syrups, is that they really are just that: Simple. Ridiculously easy to make, they keep for a long time and are worlds better than commercially made flavoring. So why isn’t everyone making simple syrups?
PERSONAL RANT: On another note, why do flavored vodkas even exist? I recently had a drink made with Absolut Raspberri and thought it was the most disgusting thing to have passed my lips in a long while. It tasted artificial and fake and absolutely nothing like raspberry. And please don’t even get me started on that “Vanil” (a.k.a. nasty scented candle) flavor…
So I’m here to encourage everyone to make their own flavored simple syrups. It’s this simple:
1. Put three cups of water in a pot.
2. Add two cups of sugar and give it a stir.
3. Bring to a boil over high heat and let boil for a minute.
4. Remove from heat and toss in desired flavorings.
5. Let steep until cool and then strain into a clean container.
VoilÃ . Keep it in the fridge for up to 3 months. Add 1-2 tablespoons to any alcoholic drink, or even just plain carbonated water.
Last weekend B & I made a bunch of simple syrups for an Asian-themed party we were attending. We went to Uwajimaya in search of inspiration and walked out with: an English cucumber, a package of Vietnamese mint, lemongrass stalks, limes and a package of huckleberries.
The cucumber simple syrup was flat out amazing. All we did was peel the cucumber and then cut it into 1/4 inch pieces for steeping. Everyone who tasted it asked for the recipe. And then didn’t believe me when I told them how easy it was.
The mint simple syrup was awful, but only because we didn’t realize that Vietnamese mint isn’t really mint. We made a quick replacement batch using two mint and two peppermint teabags. Mint tea simple syrup is my old standby and is fantastic in drinks.
For the lemon grass, we simply sliced it into thin rounds for steeping. This syrup turned out light and fruity. It was too delicate for complex drinks, but it was perfect with just vodka and soda.
The lime simple syrup was made with the zest of four limes, plus the juice of one lime. We were testing out my new microplane zester and got a little over-zealous… we ended up with too much pith, so the syrup was bitter. We labeled it “bitter lime” and passed it off as bitters with flying colors.
Our last syrup was made from huckleberries. It was a beautiful color and had a wonderful, lush and fruity flavor. Worlds better than Absolut Raspberri.