Syrups play an important role in all cocktails, however they are particularly vital in Tiki cocktails. I remember when I first started trying to create and learn about mixing drinks I was confused as to what simple syrup was. Everything on the family bookshelf just sort of assumed you knew what it was already. Imagine my confusion when other syrups began to pop up as well; orgeat, gomme, cinnamon, cherry vanilla, coffee, and falernum. In truth there are as many recipe’s for syrups as there are bartenders and probably more. Why there’s probably a dozen ways to make “simple” syrup alone. These days coming up with Tiki cocktails, studying drinks, and being simply a creative drunk a lot of my life is syrup related. So over the next couple of weeks it’s my hope to show you what it is I’ve learned.
Hot Infused syrups are simple syrups cooked with spices or other items to imbue the syrup with that item’s flavor. Usually I find this is best done with spices like cinnamon and vanilla. I have often seen berries ginger root and other items used as well which makes me curious about using cubed tropical fruit to make a syrup. Another topic for another time perhaps. For the spices I select items in their most whole forms like cinnamon sticks and vanilla beans that I then break down so they infuse better in the syrup. However before I get to my handy chart we must resolve the sugar issue.
Many bartenders use 2:1 or double strength simple syrup or syrups in general. With all but two exceptions, honey and demerera, I do not abide by this. My way is not the only way, but for my drinks and the way I make them I find great balance in 1:1 syrup. My syrups also serve as lengtheners in some of the drinks I have seen and made. If I do use a 2:1 simple you will see me list it as a rock candy syrup. Breaking another tradition I also heat all of my simple syrup on the stove top. I heat all of my syrups to reduce bacteria, infuse flavor through heat, and promote product longevity. I leave below my syrup method to show the basic foundation with which I make all my syrups.
JFL’s Simple Syrup Method
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
Combine ingredients, including ingredients to be infused if applicable, in a small saucepan and stir often. Bring syrup to a boil then turn heat two low and allow to simmer for two minutes. Remove from heat and stir quickly, cover the pan to cool before bottling. If making an infused syrup allow the syrup to sit with the ingredients off the heat for four hours before straining and bottling.
The table above gives you amounts for the various syrups I’ve made in this method. I will update this table overtime as I experiment with new syrups. For a long time I’ve resisted doing this as a topic because I thought it was to basic and uninteresting in it’s wonkishness. However with as many ways as there are to make syrups I wanted to include mine. After three years of reading and mixing I’ve come to rely on them and have faith in their flavors. These syrups and the way I make them are largely inspired and influenced by the works of Jeff Berry. My method for making cinnamon syrup is almost exactly as he lists his save for an additional cinnamon stick and a longer infusion time.
Almost all my syrups are the product of a lot of tinkering and tweaking of various recipes that I’ve made work for me. With all the ways to make syrup your always learning. Darcy O’Neil mentioned he’s been using a 3:2 method soda fountains had used near the turn of the century that I might look into. I hope this hasn’t been to dull and you’ll join us as we continue the rest of our syrup series. Until next time…
“You get Hammered America” – JFL