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A Bar Lesson: Simple Syrup.
cap, captain miss america

When you start barkeeping, building up the staple ingredients you need can be difficult. A lot of them are expensive and for people in their 20s and 30s who are typically on a still-paying-back-student-loans or a paying-for-diapers-and-daycare or similarly constrained budget, there is just no way you can buy everything you need all at once on a whim. I’ve been doing this for about twelve years (let’s not count back and look at how old I was when I started) and I am jut now getting to the point where I am happy with the contents of my bar.

BUT! Some bar ingredients are easy to make yourself.

Simple syrup is called that for a reason: it is just easy as pie to make. Actually, it is easier than pie. And inexpensive, and will store for quite a long time. Simple syrup is a sugar syrup that is used to sweeten drinks and is a basic ingredient in drinks like mojitos and mint juleps. Because it’s a syrup, it mixes up well even in cold drinks and you don’t have that problem you have with mixing sugar into an iced coffee. In fact, if you drink a lot of iced tea or coffee, simple syrup works really well as a sweetener in those.

You can buy simple syrups in grocery and gourmet stores in a variety of flavors ranging from ordinary to exotic and some of them are quite delicious, but they are much cheaper to make at home. Here is a simple syrup base that can be used with other ingredients to make flavored syrups. I admit that I do buy some flavored syrups out of curiosity or inavailability of ingredients to make that kind myself, but for plain old sugar based simple syrups, you’ll be very happy with the results if you make it yourself.

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water

1) Put both ingredients in a small saucepan
2) Put pan over burner on high heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved.
3) Boil, stirring intermittently to keep the bubbles from boiling over, until the syrup thickens to the consistency of maple syrup. You will be able to tell if it is ready by looking at a spoonful of it.

Homemade SImple Syrup with Mint

Homemade SImple Syrup with Mint

You can also add fruit, juice or herbs while the syrup is boiling to flavor your simple syrup and then strain them out when you are done and the syrup has cooled to room temperature. And it is easy to double or halve the recipe– just always use the same amount of water as sugar and make sure you use a very tiny pan if you are making a tiny amount to keep it from burning.

You can also make quite a lot and store it for a very long time as long as it is well-strained if you added any ingredients. Keep ones with fruit juice in the fridge. Plain simple syrup can be stored at room temperature in an air-tight container. If it gets too thick or starts to crystallize, you can just put it back in the pan with a little water and stir it back down!

To sweeten drinks, you just want a teaspoon to a tablespoon of this stuff depending on the drink.

Mirrored from Antagonia.net.

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Very informative, I can't wait to try and make some myself!

Being the quasi-culinary wasteland that is the midwest I haven't seen much in terms of flavored syrups for sale. I'm curious, what was the most surprising flavored syrup you've come across? Something you saw that made you either really excited to mix and make something with or something you were totally stumped by and unable to figure out why someone would want a flavored syrup with that ingredient.

Oh! Right now, I have three simple syrups that I bought.

One is a ginger simple syrup, which is one I bought to make rum drinks. There is a classic blackstrap rum recipe called a dark and stormy that calls for ginger beer but that I make with ginger syrup and Gosling's Black Seal. I also have a bottle of mint simple syrup. While I make my own mint simple syrup, I was curious about tasting someone else's. I also have pomegranate simple syrup, mainly because that seemed like something that would be a pain to strain out if I made it myself, and lavender simple syrup, which I purchased before I started making my own syrups (I know how to make that one now!)

Most of the syrups I buy come from Sonoma Syrup. I have been very happy with the quality and consistency of their products!

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