mixology:start

Mixology and cocktail making

This is mostly a reference for me – but made public in the hope that others might find it helpful!

I make these as rich sugar syrups – around 68% concentration. That's works out at a boiling temperature of around 106C. This makes them shelf-stable, though storing them in the fridge will extend their shelf life.

I got the temperatures from Owen Duffy's sugar solution information page.

Rich simple syrup (made with white sugar) is a very good sweetener for cocktails. Demarara sugar syrup brings a little extra dark-sugar flavour, which can be very nice in a dark-coloured drink.

These will start to grow white mould when they go off: if this happens, throw out the syrup, thoroughly clean the bottle, and make a fresh batch.

Start with a 2:1 (ideally by weight, but by volume is okay) mix of water and sugar – two parts sugar to one part water. This gives a starting point of 66% or so. A slight excess of water is fine.

Gently heat while stirring until all the sugar has dissolved.

Stop stirring and put a sugar thermometer in the pan.

Bring to a boil and wait until the temperature reaches 106 Celsius.

Decant into a well-washed and sterilised bottle.

This is based on Greg's video on ginger syrup.

  1. Take around 250g of ginger, and use a spoon to skin it. Keep a roughly fist-sized piece back for later - and slice the rest into discs.
    • If you're using these to make candied ginger, you may want to chop them into discs, then into quarters.
  2. Add the ginger discs to a saucepan.
  3. Add 2 cups of demerara sugar and 1 cup of water.
  4. Make a note of the water-line, then add a further cup and a half of water.
  5. Finely grate the leftover piece of ginger directly into the saucepan and stir it in.
  6. Heat gently and stir until all the sugar has dissolved.
  7. Stop stirring and bring to the boil.
  8. Simmer until enough liquid has boiled off that you reach the waterline you noted. (This will be around 106C but the dissolved ginger will affect the boiling point)
  9. Strain into a thoroughly washed and sterilised glass bottle.

Don't throw away the ginger – this can be used to make candied ginger pieces.

  1. Spread the ginger pieces onto a lined baking tray.
  2. Optionally sprinkle with sugar.
  3. Dry in the oven for around an hour on a low setting (gas mark 1 or 2, 140 to 150 Celsius).
  4. Remove from the oven when dry and move the lining and ginger onto a wire rack to cool.
  5. Add around 2tbsp white sugar to a lidded container, then move the ginger.
  6. Place the lid on and shake to separate the ginger pieces.

The sugar will absorb any remaining moisture and help keep the ginger dry.

Things I'd like to try – leaving the ginger and syrup in a Kilner jar in the fridge for 24 hours to infuse. In theory this should make the ginger flavour stronger.

Another one from a How To Drink video!

  1. Skin two red grapefruit into a container
    • Try to minimise the amount of pith on the peels. A Y-peeler works well.
    • Other citrus fruits can be used.
  2. Sprinkle 100g of sugar over the peels
    • Rule of thumb: 50g (2oz) per fruit
  3. Muddle the sugar into the peels.
  4. Put the lid on the container and leave to sit for at least 6 hours (preferably overnight), shaking occasionally to keep the peels covered in sugar.
    • This should leave a liquid
  5. Pour the sugar and peels into a saucepan
  6. Add 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar.
    • Alternatively all the sugar can be added up-front.
    • Rule of thumb: 2:1 sugar to water
  7. Bring to the boil and simmer until the peels give up most of their oils
    • They'll become drier and more brittle.
  8. Strain into a sterilised glass bottle and store in the fridge.

Fruits which work well –

  • Grapefruit

Fruits to try –

  • Lemon-lime (3:2 mix)

Based on Steve the Bartender's video.

This is what you need for the perfect Pina Colada or Painkiller: if you use ordinary coconut cream, it will separate out. It's a good alternative to Coco Lopez, which can be hard to find in the UK.

  1. Add 400ml of full-fat coconut milk (sold in the UK as coconut cream) to a saucepan
  2. Turn on a low heat – do not boil.
  3. Add 375g white sugar and a pinch of salt.
  4. Stir until the sugar combines. The liquid will change from white to a translucent, syrupy colour.

Transfer to a glass jar and store in the fridge. Keeps for a few weeks.

I usually make this in smaller batches using the 250ml packs of Sainsbury's Coconut Cream – this has a coconut content of around 78%, much higher than most similar products. I use around 235g of sugar with this, which is a similar ratio.

Andong's video on home-made soft drink syrups is well worth a watch. He shows how to make home-made versions of Sprite and Fanta using commonly available ingredients.

A few hints from me…

  • I didn't add the citric acid to my syrups. I expect this makes the syrup a little less tart, but it still tastes good.
  • When I made the orange-tangerine syrup, I added too much fruit juice and tried to reduce it down. This requires quite a lot of heat… and I didn't add enough.
  • A microplane grater (zester) is essential for zesting the fruit. It's difficult to get all of the zest out of a box grater.

This is based on Greg's video on Oleo Saccharum, with some adjustments by myself.

  1. Skin two red grapefruit into a plastic container (Try to minimise the amount of pith on the peels. A Y-peeler works well.)
  2. Sprinkle 100g of sugar over the peels (Rule of thumb: 50g (2oz) per fruit)
  3. Muddle the sugar into the peels.
  4. Put the lid on the container and leave it to sit for at least 6 hours (preferably overnight), shaking occasionally to keep the peels covered in sugar.
    • By the end you should have a syrupy liquid in the bottom of the container, and possibly some left-over sugar.
  5. Pour the sugar and peels into a saucepan. Add 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar. Make a note of the water level. (Rule of thumb: 2:1 sugar to water ratio)
  6. Juice the two grapefruit and add the juice to the saucepan.
  7. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the peels give up most of their oils. (They'll become drier and more brittle.)
  8. Keep simmering until you're roughly back to a 2:1 sugar-water ratio (the same water level you noted above)
  9. Strain into a sterilised glass bottle and store in the fridge.

Variations –

  • All the sugar can be added up-front (about 2 cups). If you do this, you will have very damp sugar instead of liquid, and will probably need to use a silicone spatula to scrape it out of the container.

Mix ratio is 60ml (2 oz) syrup to 450ml water but can be adjusted to taste.

You must be of legal drinking age in your area to continue reading this section…

A variation on the “dark and stormy”, which is usually made with Goslings rum and Barritt's ginger beer. I don't usually have Goslings in, but this works very well with Kraken.

  • 1.5oz ginger-demerara syrup (see above)
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1.5oz Kraken dark rum

Combine in a highball glass filled with ice (also works in a pint glass). Top with soda water and stir.

Variations

  1. Omit the rum for a non-alcoholic version.
  2. Stir then top with rum for something closer to a Dark and Stormy
  • Last modified: 2021/08/07 13:46
  • by philpem