Simple syrup is truly simple to make but making a quart at a time and keeping it on hand makes it even easier to whip up a batch of fruit- or vegetable-based liqueur whenever the ingredients are in season. The first three recipes can be refrigerated for up to three months, but the creamy versions only keep for a couple of weeks.
Makes 3 cups
This all-purpose simple syrup is employed in the formulas for most liqueurs.
2 1/4 cups water
2 1/4 cups granulated cane sugar
Mix the water and sugar in a small saucepan until the sugar is all moistened. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir to make sure the sugar is completely dissolved, then remove from the heat and let cool. Refrigerate for up to 3 months.
Brown Simple Syrup
Makes 3 cups
Use this dark, malty simple syrup when making whiskey- and brandy-based liqueurs.
2 1/4 cups water
2 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
Mix the water and sugar in a small saucepan until the sugar is all moistened. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir to make sure the sugar is completely dissolved, then remove from the heat and let cool. Refrigerate and use within 3 months.
Caramelized Simple Syrup
Makes 2 cups
I love the candy-like aromas and tastes of this sophisticated simple syrup used in tropical liqueurs and those with a brandy base.
1 cup granulated cane sugar
2 cups Simple Syrup
1/4-1/2 cup boiling water
Heat the sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until it begins to melt and brown at the edges. Stir with a wooden spoon. The sugar will become lumpy; keep stirring and within a few minutes it will turn a deep orange-amber and become completely fluid.
Stand back and carefully pour in the simple syrup. The mixture will bubble and steam violently, and the caramelized sugar in the pan will solidify.
Keep stirring until most of the solid caramel melts into the liquid, about 1 minute.
Pour through a mesh strainer into a heat-resistant measuring cup.
Add enough of the boiling water to make 2 cups, and stir briefly. Refrigerate in a sealed container; use within 3 months. Discard or eat the solid caramel that remains in the strainer.
Excerpted from Homemade Liqueurs and Infused Spirits © by Andrew Schloss, used with permission from Storey Publishing.
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