S and I went halves in buying her some cocktail goods - some French raspberry liqueur, and some flavoured sugar syrups. When you look at cocktail recipes, many of them call for sugar, or simple syrup. Its pretty much equal parts sugar and water boiled down to make a syrup you can use to quickly sweeten cocktails without having to deal with sugar having to be dissolved. The added bonus is that you can flavour them so you can add more complex flavours into your drink.
|Flavoured sugar syrup (L-R); Peach, Strawberry and Orange|
I made my sister 3 flavours, strawberry, orange and peach. They're ludicrously easy to make, and look gorgeous as a gift! All you have to do is make sure you have air tight bottles that have been sterilised (either put through a hot cycle on your dishwasher, or washed in hot soapy water and left to dry WITHOUT you touching the cap or the rim!), and a fine sieve.
My bottles (I got them from a home brewing shop for about $3AUD each) were quite small and held about 250ml each so I used about double that amount of water, and free poured a healthy amount of sugar in that looked like about half to me - you can obviously be a lot more accurate! This is the first step to any sugar syrup, must be done before you add any fruit to the pan - you'll see how I made each flavour below.
I used all the peaches we had in the house as they were looking a bit worse for wear and I didn't really want to eat them - so I used about 5 of them! Put them whole in the pan making sure they were mostly submerged. If they're not just pop in every now and again to move them around in the water. I used a fork to smoosh them up to extract as much flavour as I could.
I topped a big punnet of strawberries that were on special and put them whole into the water. You'll notice after a while the strawberries will lose their colour. Once this has happened, take them out and continue to reduce the syrup until you're happy with the amount.
I zested 2 oranges and then juiced them, and added it to the water. This was then boiled down until it was reduced by about half.
Once the water was reduced, I strained all the the mixes through a sieve a few times. Peach and strawberries need to be sieved a couple of times whereas orange you can get away with just doing it once. Use your judgement, some fruits are denser and fleshier than others at different times of the year, but you don't want seeds or pulp in your syrup! I added some of the orange zest to the bottle to keep the flavour going and it looks pretty as well!
Pour the syrup into a jug and then into your bottles - if you're lucky enough to have a funnel (I didn't!) use that - but sterilise it first! You have sterilised bottles you don't want your funnel from the back of the cupboard contaminating the bottle tops!
Its important that you store these in the fridge - as they do contain alot of fruit and sugar. The plain version can be kept any old place, but fruity ones, in the fridge! You can see there is some seperation in the peach syrup - just make sure you give it a good shake before you use it!
These can also be used to give greek yoghurt an edge when serving it with cakes or on your museli in the morning, or added to soda water to make your own cordial. How delicious would it be to drizzle some orange syrup over a chocolate cake fresh from the oven? The sky is the limit with these sweet compact flavour bombs!
I'd love to know what else you can use these for aside from cocktails!