Syrup Recipe

Tomato Peppercorn Shrub

Tomato Peppercorn Shrub

This winter has been brutal for me physically. My butt has met the cold wet concrete more times than I care to admit. Ice, outside of a glass, is not my friend.

I’m longing for the sunny embrace of warmer weather, but I’m still loving the flavors of winter. Mainly I’m loving all the whiskey cocktails winter has to bring. So why not make a cocktail that inspires both.

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Pumpkin Bourbon Syrup

I knew my husband was “the one” when he gave me a pumpkin for our four month anniversary. He learned quickly that while I like flowers, pumpkin is the true way to my heart. Every year since, he’s given me a pumpkin for what I refer to as our pumpkin-versary (and he rolls his eyes when I do). Typically for our pumpkin-versary I make a pie. But this year I decided to make a syrup.

In a previous post I provided a recipe for Pumpkin Chai Syrup. This time around I wanted to make a syrup that focused more on the pumpkin. I've got a fever for more pumpkin!

Pumpkin Bourbon Syrup - I love this syrup. If I become diabetic it will because of this syrup. I’m already through half a bottle and it's only been a day.

Less spicy than the pumpkin chai syrup, the pumpkin bourbon syrup has a bright pumpkin flavor with an earthy sweetness. And bonus, since it contains a small amount of alcohol, it should have a slightly longer shelf life.

This recipe calls for pumpkin puree. You can purchase canned pumpkin puree or make your own. I chose to make my own.

Pumpkin Purée

Start with a pie pumpkin. Pie pumpkins have more flavor than the huge carving pumpkins. Cut a circle in the top of the pumpkin using a serrated knife.

Remove the lid.

Cut Pumpkin into quarters. Remove seeds and stringy fiber using an ice cream scoop. Save seeds for roasting later.

Place pumpkin quarter on cookie sheet. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for 35 minutes. Pumpkin is done when you can easily poke a fork through the flesh.

Using your ice cream scoop, remove the pumpkin flesh from its skin. Place in a food processor. Add 1/2 oz bourbon, 1/4 oz lemon juice and 1/2 oz vanilla. Process for 5 minutes. The more liquids you add the smoother your puree.

Pumpkin Bourbon Syrup

  • 2 cups Rich Simple Syrup (2 cups water, 1 cup Demarara or Brown Sugar)
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 oz. bourbon
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tbsp. Pumpkin Spice

While the syrup is still hot, stir ingredients together and allow to steep for 20 minutes. Strain well. Cool before use.

After straining the syrup I gave the puree at taste. Man was it tasty. Thinking about using it to make muffins or something. If there are any bakers out there with ideas, let me know. And if you give the Pumpkin Bourbon Syrup a try, drop me a line.

Next post, Pumpkin Bourbon cocktails. I can't wait!

Nikki.

 

 

 

Sunday Cocktails: Shrubs

This week I decided to try my hand at making a shrub. What is a shrub? It’s the combination of fruit, sugar and vinegar to make a syrup.

Why would I want to drink a cocktail with vinegar? Let’s talk a bit about vinegar and its effects on a beverage. I’ll try my best to avoid any shrubbery jokes. I’ll try but can’t make any promises.

Vinegar:

  • fermented sugar and water.

  • 5% acetic acid

  • Kills bacteria & microorganisms.

Shrubs are an old form of canning. By adding vinegar you stall the spoilage process. The idea of adding alcohol to create a beverage is centuries old, but forgotten until recent years. Not only does it help to preserve, it also helps to deliver flavor.

Your lips probably purse just thinking about vinegar. Vinegar excites an immediate reaction to our mouths. It has a very noticeable mouthfeel.

Mouthfeel is the sensation in the mouth caused by a food or beverage. It’s how your mouth physically reacts when you taste something. The flavor, the viscosity (or thickness), the texture; all help to contribute to the mouthfeel.

Mouthfeel is something we don’t usually think about and often neglect. It’s important to think about because it aids in how we enjoy what we’re eating. Let’s say you just finished an awesome sandwich. What are you going to wash it down with, water? Is that water going to be as satisfying as the carbonation of a glass of cola or a beer? Why do we crave the thickness of milk after eating something sweet? It all attributes to the stimulation we experience due to the mouthfeel. It just feels good.

Perhaps this is why using shrubs in a beverage is so satisfying yet perplexing. Our brains are not programed to think of vinegar as being refreshing. I trust that you’re not going to be taking swigs of vinegar any time soon.

The vinegar in a shrub attributes two things to a cocktail.

  1. There’s now a tang, a sharpness, that isn’t there with simple syrup. It stimulates the tongue with more intensity thus delivering more flavor.

  2. It modifies the viscosity of the drink, if only slightly. This makes for a smoother cocktail. The small adjustment in weight feels good against the tongue. (The same happens when you make a beverage using egg whites.)

I could continue on with my theories or we could get to making some drinks. Let’s make some cocktails.

 

Blueberry Thyme Shrub

  .5 cup Blueberries

   2 tsp Thyme

.33 cup Red Wine Vinegar

.33 cup Simple Syrup

Store macerated blueberries, thyme, vinegar and syrup in a air tight container up to one week. Shake daily. Strain before serving.

This recipe is for a small shrub *giggle*. I had some blueberries in the fridge that I'd forgotten about. I literally threw everything together in 2 minutes. 

The flavor will change the longer you let your shrub sit. I stored mine for one week before use.

After a week I strained off the berries and thyme using a french press. So much easier than using cheese cloth and a wire strainer.

I instantly decided that I wanted to make an egg white cocktail. I love the foam and the almost creamy texture. And topping it with club soda tones down the shrubs, making for a refreshing beverage.

Blueberry Thyme Fizz

1.5 oz Rum

 1 oz Blueberry Thyme Shrub

.5 oz Cointreau

  .5 oz Lemon Juice

        1 Eggwhite

           Few dashes Lavender bitters

Dry shake with eggwhites. Shake with ice. Strain. Top with club soda.

So the next time you're out and you see a shrub cocktail on the menu, I hope you'll give it a try. It might surprise you how much you'll like it. 

Imbibe Happily,

Nikki

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Cocktails - Grenadine & Ginger Martini

The other night I found a recipe that I wanted to try that called for grenadine. Like many folks, I have an old sticky bottle of fluorescent red grenadine on my condiment shelf. As I pulled out this forgotten relic, I realized that using what is basically just red dye and high fructose corn syrup is not "crafty". 

Originally, grenadine was made from pomegranates. Its name is derived from the French word "grenade" meaning pomegranate. The grenadine most us are familiar with - not using any names, but you know who you are - has contains no pomegranate. Corn syrup is easier to make and never goes bad. There are some brands that still include fruit as an ingredient. So if you chose the commercial route, go with these.

Making grenadine at home, however, is so simple, you may wonder why you've never done it before. Here's the recipe:

House Made Grenadine

2 cups POM Pomegranate Juice

2 cups Sugar

In a large pot, bring pomegranate juice to a boil.

Reduce heat and slowly stir in sugar.

Simmer on low-med heat for approx. 10 minutes.

How simple is that? In less time than it takes a pizza to be delivered, you just made you're very own grenadine. Store in air tight containers for up to two weeks in the fridge.

I chose POM because its 100% pomegranate juice that contains no sugar. (promise I wasn't paid to say that)  Pomegranate juice has become so popular in recent years, you should have no problem finding it.

Occasionally you'll see grenadine added to give the drink color . Below is a Ginger Martini I made where I add a few splashes of grenadine to give the drink a gorgeous pink hue and a touch of sweetness. You can always try it without.

Sunday Cocktails: Lavender Orange Cocktail

Relaxing on the couch watching Top Gear with hubby, recovering from our Saturday out with the moms. After steamed crabs with his mother and cocktails with mine, we're both exhausted. Not too exhausted, however, to make a cocktail.

Lavender Orange Cocktail

2 oz. Gin

1 oz. Lavender Lemon Syrup

1/2 oz. Triple Sec

Garnish with orange peel.

Of all the syrups I've made the Lavender Lemon is my favorite. Its light and elegant and takes any beverage up a notch. It pairs great with gin and flavors such as vanilla and citrus.

Lavender Lemon Syrup

2 cups water

1/2 cup Culinary Lavender

1 cup sugar

1/2 lemon

Bring water to a slow boil. Add lavender and boil for 20 minutes.

Strain lavender. Add sugar and lemon. Simmer until sugar has dissolved.

Allow to cool.

I haven't been blessed with children but my fur baby, Izzy, has been pampering me all morning with cat massages. All in all its been a purr-fect mother's day.

Imbibe happily,

Nikki