Now Is a Good Time to Make a Bunch of Cocktail Syrups.

Making a cocktail at home requires several accessories. Aside from a shaker, stirring glass, spoon, and more, the Home Bar isn’t complete without bitters, citrus fruits, and syrups. The first two are fairly easy purchases, but syrups are extremely easy and inexpensive to make at home. They’re also almost infinitely varied, making them an enjoyable evening / afternoon / weekend project, depending on how much free time you have and the variety of flavors you desire.

Be basic

You really don’t need any syrups other than the “simple” and honey ones. With their help, you can make a wide variety of cocktails – both shaken and mixed – and they will remain in the refrigerator forever. They are also very easy to make. To make a simple syrup, simply heat equal parts by volume of sugar and water in a small saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Allow to cool, then transfer to a squeeze bottle for easier pouring. For honey syrup, use a ratio of three parts honey to one part hot (not boiling) water. Stir well to combine, then strain into a squeeze bottle (Bonus points if you find a bear-shaped bottle).

Get thicc

If you want a simple one with a little more consistency and flavor, try replacing standard white sugar with a darker, richer turbinado and use a two parts sugar to one part water ratio. Use it instead of the standard simple one in drinks that require a deeper, more caramelly sweetness.

Get fruity

If you have frozen berries – or indeed any berries – you can make a slightly tart, gem-tinged honey syrup that works equally well in smoothies, lemonades, and plain seltzer water. Add 1 cup honey and 2 cups berries to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir until the frozen honey and berry pieces break up, then boil again. Strain through a fine mesh strainer and save the solids for a smoothie or use as a yogurt filling. Let the honey cool to room temperature before storing it in the refrigerator.

Get spicy

Ginger is one of my favorite flavors, and the uncooked ginger syrup in Sasha Patrasque’s book on cocktails is a spicy, vibrant masterpiece. Instead of extracting the flavor of the ginger with the heat, which gives the syrup a “cooked” flavor, you do it with a razor blade. It’s a bit tricky, but not too tricky (which you can read about here ); Basically, it’s a matter of juicing ginger in a food processor and then mixing that juice with sugar (again in a food processor) to create a golden, super aromatic syrup for cocktails, tea, lemonades, and custom made ginger ale.

Get some wine

If you have a bottle of wine or vermouth that is about to be oxidized, or just made a bad wine purchase, you can use it to make a simple bottle with a little more character (and alcohol). Do this as usual: simply heat equal amounts of wine and sugar in a small saucepan until the sugar dissolves, let cool, remove into a funnel and cool. Crappy pink syrup makes a particularly beautiful syrup .

Getting cheesy

The stems of woody grasses like thyme and rosemary are often tossed or composted, but these parts of the plant have a good scent and they make for a surprisingly whimsical simplicity. Just keep it simple as usual, then toss all the herb stalks you have into the pot, cover, and let sit overnight. Strain the stems the next day, then strain through a fine sieve into a squeeze bottle. Use in any beverage that requires a little sophistication.


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