Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Homemade Syrups

We just got a home carbonator! I'm very excited - I love drinking lemon/lime fizzy water, but had given up my habit as far too expensive. Plus I felt a lot of greenie guilt about the pile of seltzer bottles in our recycling.

In addition to making simple lemon/lime water, I'm also planning to make a lot of homemade sodas. So far (the carbonator came yesterday) I've made a peach fizz soda using peach syrup I canned last summer; I have some blueberry syrup that I'm also eager to try as a soda flavoring.

(This is in no way an endorsement of the SodaStream folks. Their business model kind of irks me, actually, and I don't love that the only affordable options involve plastic. But they are pretty much it in the (relatively-) cheap-and-easy home carbonator department.)

I'm also looking forward to making some mixed drinks: rhubarb mojitos, anyone? Some of my rhubarb bounty went today to making rhubarb and mint syrups.

They're both basically just flavored simple syrups: equal parts sugar and water, simmered until thick. To flavor the syrup, add the other ingredient(s) and simmer a lot or a little, depending on how strong you want the flavor to be, and how strong the flavor of the other ingredient(s) is/are. The mint could become overwhelming, so I added it at the very end of the simmering and just let the lightly crushed leaves cool in the syrup before removing them. I followed Brooklyn Farmhouse's recipe for their version of rhubarb syrup using brown sugar; that one calls for cooking the rhubarb in the syrup for quite a while.

I'm also thinking about making some lemon balm syrup, since that might be interesting and I certainly have quite a bit of lemon balm...

ETA: I forgot to mention that making the rhubarb syrup also leaves you with quite a bit of what we're calling "rhubarb butter." It is delicious on toast and mixed into yogurt, especially with a little bit of cinnamon stirred in. Also, a crucial detail about the rhubarb syrup recipe - I decided that it looked like way too much rhubarb for that amount of water, so I doubled the water and sugars. Still tasted very rhubarb-y.

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