Friday, August 13, 2010

Simple and Sweet

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Simple syrup is...simple. Combine equal parts water and sugar, bring to a boil, simmah it down for a couple of minutes and voilà! It's endlessly useful stuff. You can use it in cocktails, to keep the layers of your layer cake moist, or to sweeten your iced tea without a bunch of stirring. You can even dilute it a bit and use it in a hummingbird feeder (they prefer one part sugar to four parts water).*

It's so simple, that it practically screams to be tinkered with. I like mint in my iced tea, so why not just add mint to the simple syrup? For a homemade vanilla latte, steep a couple of vanilla beans in that simple syrup. Maybe you're cutting back on refined sugar, so you might use turbinado or moscovado sugar instead. Now you have a simple syrup that has a nice, deep molasses flavor. Or substitute honey, for a syrup that tastes like, well, honey.

I have a little project in mind for this simple syrup, so I was thinking of some specific flavor profiles. I made one plain batch, one with honey, one with turbinado, one with honey and lavender, and one with mint and turbinado. Again, I just used equal parts of either sugar, turbinado or honey and water. Once it comes to a boil, turn down the heat and let is simmer for a minute or two.

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For the version with mint, I used 1 cup each of turbinado sugar and water and 1 cup of loosely packed mint leaves. Once the simple syrup had simmered I took it off the heat and added the roughly chopped mint. After letting it steep for about 10 minutes, I poured the mixture through a strainer lined with cheesecloth. The process was the same for the honey lavender version, though I used less lavender, because a little lavender goes a long way.

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simple5 Use a funnel and bottle your syrup after it's cooled a bit. (I'm an impatient girl, and was almost burned by molten sugar syrup splashing out of the funnel. So do let it cool down). I used these bail top bottles, but any sanitized glass or plastic bottle will do. Refrigerate your simple syrup and it will keep for a few weeks. If you're making more than one type of syrup, labeling it may be helpful.

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I do have big plans for these different syrups. But, in the meantime, I couldn't resist mixing up a cocktail with a bit of the plain syrup. The Bramble has been one of my go-to drinks this summer. Salud!

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*UPDATE: One of my very clever friends also noted that using 1 part simple syrup and 2 parts lemon and/or lime juice results in a homemade sweet and sour mix that is 10 times better than the noxious neon yellow stuff!

2 comments:

Lindsae said...

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Leopold Bros!!!

Andie said...

Me too! Have you tried their apple whiskey? So, so good!