Flavored simple syrup first got on my radar when I came across a booth filled with different flavors at my local Greenmarket one weekend. Evolutionary Organics offers several varieties, including lemongrass, basil, mint, and a delicious super chai syrup.
And yet, it hadn’t occurred to me to make simple syrup myself until talking with a bartender during a mixology class – part of a glass-etching workshop at Brooklyn Craft Company. He made it sound so easy. Simple, even. (Hah.) Turns out he’s right!
The steeping process: boil 1 part water and 1 part sugar til the sugar dissolves. Pour over 1 part herbs, and cover with saran wrap to trap in flavor that would otherwise escape with the steam while steeping. When the syrup has cooled, strain into a glass bottle (I used a funnel and tea brewing basket combo) and refrigerate.
In deciding what flavor syrups to infuse, I researched warm-weather cocktail ideas. That got me looking forward to experimenting with this summer cocktail recipe now that it’s finally warmed up here in NYC. Spring cocktails vaguely on the cheap taught me about the Schmallet, a wooden mallet used for crushing ice in a heavy canvas bag. And so at the party I couldn’t stop telling friends about the Schmallet and giggling midway through the awkward consonant cluster.
The mint syrup worked well with a gin, bourbon, lime, ginger ale, and seltzer blend that the party hosts concocted. Mixing rosemary syrup with bourbon was also really tasty. That base played well with St. Germain (elderflower liqueur) in one cocktail, and a splash of berry and lemon juice in another.
My friend really liked the flavored syrups. She said I’ve inspired her to cook items that usually seem out of reach – like these syrups, as well as pickles (more to come on that later) – which felt great. Spread the kitchen love!