Saturday, June 30, 2012

Summery Syrups and Cocktails

Kidman Cocktail
Summer time is syrup time. We are pretty much up to our elbows in fruit and sugar over here and since you can't just squeeze them all, we'll have to cook them down to make them drinkable. We introduced you to syrups long ago with the blueberry spice recipe, but let's add another wrinkle to the mix and use vinegar. And, no, we are not making salad dressing.
First a simple syrup for in-season fruit.

Peach Syrup
3 peaches, chopped
1 1/2 cupswater
1 1/2 cupssugar

Typical syrup for cocktails is usually 1:1 water to sugar. I like those proportions. For fruits like berries and peaches, I just throw all the fruit, water, and sugar into a sauce pan and cook, removing from the heat just before it boils. Be sure to strain the fruit out of your syrup with cheesecloth and store it in the refrigerator. It lasts about 1 to 2 weeks, more if you add a spirit to it, such as a tablespoon of brandy for peaches, rum for berries, cognac for cherries, bourbon for mint, chartreuse for rosemary/herb, etc.; you can't do it wrong if you are happy with the results.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Syrup
16 ounces strawberries, chopped
1 foot long stalk rhubarb
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar

For the above recipe, rhubarb doesn't lend itself to syrup like a berry, so first chop the rhubarb slightly in a food processor until it gives up some of its juice. Then combine with the strawberries, water, and sugar and cook like the peach syrup recipe.

What about the vinegar? Well, you can turn any syrup into a 'shrub' if you add cider vinegar at a 3:2 ratio of syrup to vinegar. Be adventurous and give it a try. The following cocktail would be awesome with either strawberry-rhubarb syrup or shrub...

Kidman Cocktail
Holly's Originals

2 ounces dark rum (I used Old New Orleans)
1 ounce strawberry-rhubarb syrup or shrub
1/2 ounce Aperol
Dash Angostura bitters

Constitutional Cocktail
Holly's Original

1 1/2 ounces Applejack
2 ounces peach syrup
2 dashes Peychaud bitters (you could substitute with a dash of Herbsaint or other licorice liquor)
Dash Blue Curacao

Both cocktails are stirred in a mixing glass. Strain, garnish with mint, and enjoy.

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