Making cocktail mixers and syrups at home
Sometimes the dog days of summer call for a cocktail. And when the mood hits, and you don’t have the right ingredients, it may be easier than you think to make your own
Simple syrup is a great base for many different cocktails. It starts by mixing equal amounts of sugar and water by measure and heating until the sugar dissolves (do not boil). Cool and transfer to an air-tight container. Refrigerate for up to a month. You can use this to sweeten any summer iced drink without having residual sugar in the bottom of your cup. The best thing about simple syrup is how easy it is to flavor. Are you a fan of mojitos? Add a handful of clean fresh mint to the syrup after the sugar is dissolved. Once cooled, strain into your storage container. You can do the same with any herb (basil simple syrup is surprisingly good in lemonade). Add up to a tablespoon of pure vanilla extract to make vanilla simple syrup. Steep vanilla, pecans, and orange peels to make a yummy base for an old fashioned. Once you start playing with it, you’ll find the possibilities are endless. The key is adding your flavorings as soon as the sugar is dissolved, as your syrup is cooling.
Grenadine is an easy to make variation on simple syrup. Instead of water, you use pomegranate juice. Add a bit of lemon juice to the bottle to help bring out the crispness of the pomegranate flavor. Again, this staple cocktail mixer will keep up to 30 days, refrigerated. If you’d like to extend the shelf life a bit, you can add an ounce of vodka to the bottle.
Classic cocktails often call for sour mix. This is another easy one to prepare at home. Again, you’re going to start with a basic simple syrup. Once the sugar is dissolved, add freshly squeezed lemon juice and lime juice to the syrup, mix well and store in the refrigerator for up to 30 days.
Looking to make several different syrups at once, or make them right in the jars you’re going to store them in? You can make them via sous vide. Set your sous vide temperature for 135°F, add your ingredients to an appropriate, food safe bag, or mason jar. Seal tightly and allow the syrups to infuse (cook in the sous vide bath) for 2-4 hours. The benefit of this is that the slow cooking will result in slightly stronger flavors in your syrup as the flavors are infusing as the sugar dissolves. Enjoy creating your own flavored syrups. If you don’t want to use them in cocktails, they make great flavorings for seltzer as well.
- 2 cups pomegranate juice
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
Place juice and sugar in saucepan on medium heat. Heat until sugar is dissolved, stirring occasionally. Some bubbling may appear around pan edges, this is normal. Do not boil. Cool, transfer to jar or bottle for storage and add lemon juice. Label, date & refrigerate up to 30 days. For longer storage, add 1 oz. vodka in addition to lemon juice. Will extend shelf life to up to 45 days.
Home-made Sour Mix:
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
- ¾ cup fresh squeezd lime juice
Make simple syrup as directed above. Once done, stir in lemon juice and lime juice. Cool. Transfer to jar or bottle for storage. Label, date & refrigerate up to 30 days.