One of the infusion types I mentioned in my introduction post was that of sugar syrup infusing.
Every bartender will tell you that sugar syrup is an essential part of their arsenal and that a well-prepared syrup has the potential to raise a cocktail above the realms of normality.
Below you will find the recipes for 4 very different sugar syrup infusions, including a special spicy concoction that is perfect for those heat lovers out there!
Disclaimer: although usually I’d offer up a complimentary cocktail recipe for each of these syrups, to make the post less cluttered I’ve simply stated the spirit(s) they pair with the best!
#1 Rhubarb Simple Syrup
400 grams fresh Rhubarb
100 grams sugar
Add ingredients to a small saucepan and bring to the boil on a medium heat. Stirring consistently.
Stir until the sugar has dissolved.
Turn heat down to low and simmer.
The rhubarb will begin to soften around 5/6 minutes in (this is normal so don’t panic!)
Allow mixture to thicken a little (around 2-5 minutes) and then remove from heat.
Strain* mixture into a sterile container and allow to cool.
Seal and keep refrigerated.
*when straining gently press the fruit pieces to gain a little more juice (flavour) but be careful not to press to hard as it will make your syrup go cloudy!
This is the most versatile of the 4 recipes and works brilliantly with vodka or gin. It is particularly good in a bramble (in place of the blackberry liqueur!) and also pairs well with light mixers or those non-drinkers out there! – Homemade Rhubarb Lemonade anyone?
#2 Honey & Rosemary Sugar Syrup
2-3 Rosemary Sprigs
Mix the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil – on a medium heat.
Once boiling reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 2 minutes.
Turn off heat after 2 minutes and leave to cool (covered).
Strain out rosemary ad store in a sterile container.
Once this item is cooled seal it and keep it refrigerated. It should keep for up to 4 weeks (although if it looks spoiled at any point please don’t risk it – bin it and make some more!)
This particular syrup is a little more to taste and less sweet than the blueberry syrup but that just means it’s that perfect herbal addition to your favourite Whisky/Bourbon cocktail. It also mixes well with more savoury vodka and gin cocktails and does make a mean G&T.
#3 Cucumber & Mint Simple Syrup
100 grams Sugar
½ Cucumber (Diced)
10 leaves fresh Mint
Combine the water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Stir until the sugar has dissolved.
When the sugar has dissolved turn the heat off and allow to cool.
Once cooled add in the cucumber and mint. Leave in for at least 1hr but for a more concentrated flavour leave it in for longer (Keep refrigerated at all times).
Strain away the cucumber and mint and store accordingly.
This syrup has an odd aftertaste but is still a great tasting mix regardless. It mixes well with Gin and Vodka (as you’d expect) but also makes a great twist on the classic mojito – blending well with White rum.
#4 Spicy Jalapeno Simple Syrup
100 grams sugar
1 Jalapeno (sliced lengthways)
Simmer the water and sugar, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
Take of the heat once the sugar has dissolved and cover to cool.
Once cooled add the Jalapeno slices and leave for at least 1hr*.
After the infusion time has passed, sieve out the jalapeno and store in a sealed container in the fridge.
*as with the cucumber and mint recipe, the longer the jalapeno is in the syrup the more concentrated the flavour profile (and heat). You might want to try creating several different concentrations of this mixture and making a note of which is which – this way you can cater for different palates…
Whilst this mixture blends well with vodka (and surprisingly gin) it is best kept for the most obvious choice: Tequila. Try adding a little bit of this to your next shot of quality tequila. Try with Habanero’s or Cazadores Tequila should you have either in your possession…
So there you go! 4 rather brilliant, and yet rather different simple syrup recipes. They’re all a perfect with their own particular spirit(s) but all have room for a little versatility.
I hope you enjoy them, and if any are not quite to your tastes, feel free to tweak them. That’s the best way to improve them. I’d love to hear your thoughts on these recipes if you try them, especially any cocktails you find them to particularly effective in…