HOUSEMADE COCKTAIL INGREDIENTS
You can make a range of great syrups and other additions for your cocktails at home – you’ll often get better tasting, more cost-effective results, and you can personalize them to your own tastes and preferences. Here are some recipes to get you started, including many of the ones you’d need to make the drinks in our cocktail repository.
1½ cup white sugar
1 cup water
If you’re using it right away, you can simply shake them together until the sugar dissolves – use warm water.
If you plan to keep the syrup for any period of time, heat them on the stove together, stirring often, and simmer for 1 minute. Cool completely, then store in the refrigerator up to 1 month. If infusing, strain out the solids before storing in the fridge.
Simmer your plain simple (as described at left) for 5 minutes with one of these, then cool completely and strain out solids:
Lemongrass – 1 tbsp dried or 2 stalks fresh, sliced
Cardamom – 1 tbsp seeds (outside the pod)
Cinnamon – 3-5 cinnamon sticks
Fennel – 1 tbsp dried seeds
Lavender – 1 tbsp dried blossoms
Lemon Verbena – 1 tbsp dried or ¼ cup fresh chopped
Ginger – 4-5″ fresh ginger root – washed & sliced ¼” thick
Basil – ¼ cup of fresh basil leaves, chopped
Cranberry – 3/4 cup fresh cranberries (washed); then mash with potato masher after simmering and before straining. Cranberry Orange – also add the zest of 1 small orange. Cranberry-Ginger – also add 2″ fresh ginger root, washed & sliced.
Spiced Orange – add the peel of 2 oranges, plus 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, a few slices of fresh ginger or 1/4 tsp ground ginger, and a dash of ground allspice & clove or nutmeg
Pear Rosemary – peel, then grate, 1-1/2 ripe Bartlett pears, and add that with the leaves from a stalk of fresh rosemary that is 4-5″ long
Brown Sugar Cinnamon Simple
1½ cup Light Brown Sugar
1 cup water
3-4 Cinnamon Sticks
Bring to a light simmer on the stove; simmer for 4-5 minutes. Cool completely, then strain out the cinnamon sticks. Store in the refrigerator for 30 days or more.
1 cup honey
1/2 cup water
Heat in a saucepan, stirring often to dissolve and dilute the honey. Once honey has fully dissolved with the water (usually just before boiling), remove from heat. Allow to cool completely, then store in clean glass jar in the refrigerator.
Spiced Honey Simple
Add 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground cardamom, 1/4 tsp ground ginger, if available, and a dash of ground allspice; simmer lightly for a few minutes to infuse before cooling. Strain out any solids before storing in the refrigerator.
Tea-Infused Simple Syrups
To make a tea-infused syrup, brew the tea first, then add sugar to make it a simple syrup. Brewing times vary depending on tea type – follow instructions for tea, and adjust from there.
Basic Recipe 1 cup water, 1½ cup white sugar and 2-8 tea bags of desired tea type (you’re aiming for a concentrated tea here). Heat water to boiling, then remove from heat and steep tea according to the tea’s recommendations. Remove tea bags, then add sugar, stir well and bring to a low simmer, stirring often. Simmer for 1 minute, then remove from heat and cool completely. Store in refrigerator for up to 1 month.
Some of the types of tea we’ve used:
Earl Grey – 3 tea bags
Chai Tea – 3 bags
Julius Meinl Apple Cassis – 2 bags
Chamomile – 2-3 bags
Green Tea – varies based on type
Spiced Apple Syrup
1½ cup sugar
1 cup water
1 tart cooking apple, peeled & diced
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
dash ground clove
1/8 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground ginger, or a few slices of fresh ginger
Put sugar in a pot, add diced apple. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Add sugar and spices, simmer for 15 minutes. Cool completely, then strain out solids. Syrup will keep in the refrigerator for 1 month.
1 pound dark, sweet cherries, pitted
½ cup sugar
½ cup water
1 oz fresh lemon juice
¾ cup brandy
(also delicious with bourbon)
Combine the sugar, water, lemon juice, a dash of cardamom, and the cinnamon stick in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer. Add cherries, and simmer for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, cool for a few minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick and stir in the brandy. Cool completely, then store in a glass jar in the refrigerator. Cherries will keep for several months, as long as they are fully covered by the liquid.