If you love a good, hand-crafted cocktail…I have two things to share with you.
1. You and my husband share that common love.
2. This post is vital, and I mean VITAL, for your home bar.
Simple syrup is a classic barkeeper’s ingredient. Used in everything from mojitos to mixed drinks, its main purpose is to add an extra hit of sweetness to otherwise sharper-tasting drinks. Of course, it doesn’t always have to be used in alcoholic drinks – it can be used in frozen treats (think popsicles) and in jams, jellies, etc.
To provide a bit of background, there are actually several different types of simple syrups. The most common one is the ‘traditional’ simple syrup. This is made with equal parts sugar and water; all you do is stir granulated sugar into boiling water until it dissolves, cool completely, and store in the refrigerator. Depending on how sweet you like things, you can go with a 1:1 ratio like I use, or double up the sugar 2:1.
Flavored syrups (like what’s listed in the below recipe) are made by adding…you guessed it…a flavor into the syrup. A lot of these you’ll find in coffee bars (think cinnamon, mocha, caramel, etc.).
Lastly, there is what’s called gomme syrup. The difference between this and other syrups is the addition of gum arabic, which acts as an emulsifier. Gomme syrup is always made with a 2:1 ratio, to ensure the sweetest ending flavor possible. An example of where this might be used is in iced Japanese coffee.
Because simple syrups have the sugar completely dissolved into the liquid, they make for an ideal addition to drinks. There will be no gritty or texture added into the drink, ensuring a smooth sip each and every time.
And I’m sure you’re thinking – well, why couldn’t we just buy this in the store? Of course you can…but why buy it when you can make it in, and I’m not joking, less than 5 minutes!? Not only will you always, always have sugar and water on hand to make this, you can control the additional flavors and the amount of sugar that goes into it. All you will probably need to purchase is a squeeze bottle or two (or, feel free to wash out a ketchup bottle…or other squeeze-type bottle…REALLY well and use that!). I don’t know about y’all, but that sounds like winning to me!
Let’s look at the recipe, shall we? Below, I’ve outlined my recipe (and name of this post) for a Ginger Simple Syrup. But don’t let that contain you! If you want to start of with a basic syrup, feel free to omit the ginger completely. Feeling a little flavor-inspired? Go for it! Some of my favorite syrup add-ins include vanilla bean, basil, rosemary (yes, herbs make ahhmazing flavor infusions for cocktails!), strawberry, orange, mint…the possibilities are endless! Get creative and please let me know what you come up with.
2-1/2″ fresh ginger root, sliced thin
1 C. water
3/4 – 1 C. sugar (I like turbinado or Demerara sugar*)
Pour water into a small pot on the stovetop. Add in sliced ginger, and bring to a rolling boil. Once boiling, pour in sugar and lower the heat. Stir constantly, until the sugar is dissolved (watch closely, because you don’t want to burn the sugar!). Remove from heat and cool completely. Before pouring into a storage container, remove the sliced ginger. Simple syrup will keep in the refrigerator for up to one month, sometimes longer. Removing any flavoring (mint, fruit, etc.) will help prolong the shelf life.