If you like to “Do-It-Yourself”, then you might want to explore the world of cocktails. Besides making classic drinks from scratch, you can create your own cocktail recipes, boozy infusions, flavored syrups, brandied fruit garnishes, fat-washes (don’t ask) and even your own tinctures and bitters. And many of these DIY products will be way better than anything you buy in the store (a few won’t, btw). And if you want to explore the boundaries of cocktail DIY we suggest visits to Cocktail Chronicles, Boozed + Infused and Serious Eats, all have a wealth of detailed DIY recipes. But before you take the full plunge into cocktail DIY esoterica, we suggest a few basic syrups that cover many classic cocktails and Tiki drinks: Grenadine (pomegranate and sugar syrup), simple syrup ( white sugar or Demerara “raw” sugar syrup) and honey syrup.
What makes these syrups so special? Firstly, you can make hundreds of snazzy cocktails with these syrups as the primary sweeteners (and they dissolve better in cold drinks than honey or granulated sugar- nobody likes gummy or gritty cocktails). Second, you can find all the ingredients at the grocery store. Third, you can make these syrups in under 15 minutes….combined. And finally, they keep in the fridge for weeks. So if you invest just a little time, you get a big payoff. And the payoff is in the cocktails. What cocktails? Here are just a few examples:
Grenadine: Planter’s Punch, Scofflaw, Tequila Sunrise, Jack Rose and Bacardi Cocktail (and the Shirley Temple / Roy Rodgers for the kids).
Simple Syrup: Daiquiris, Mojitos, Collins, Sours, Juleps, French 75, and the Long Island Iced Tea (use Demerara syrup for a richer, molasses-tinged flavor).
Honey Syrup: Air Mail, Bee’s Knees, Bebbo, Navy Grog, Tiki Bowl, Rum Barrel and the Missionary’s Downfall.
And as we noted, making these syrups is very, very easy. You only need two basic cooking methods; mixing and boiling. Grenadine and honey syrup are the “mixers”. Just combine 1/2 sweetener and 1/2 liquid in a container and shake (just use really hot water for the honey syrup). After a few minutes of shaking, you’re done. The simple syrups require a brief boiling time to incorporate the sugar and water, but it only takes a few minutes.
Finally, these syrups can keep for a while. Honey syrup, if kept in the fridge, will last up to a month. Both the Grenadine and simple syrup will last 1-2 weeks in the fridge, but adding a tablespoon of vodka or grain alcohol for every cup of syrup will extend their life a few weeks more. And once you make these syrups, you may find yourself using them quite often- your cocktails will be very tasty and have smooth, “professional” texture. Continue reading