Home' Bars and Clubs : BAC MayJun 2016 Contents CONSISTENCY IS KEY
Vikario: For those who use shop-bought products,
stability and consistency win the day. But as drink
fashions change, bartenders and their small-batch
creations can react much faster to new flavour
trends. The large production brands, though, have
the skills to make a consistent product with a much
longer shelf life. The advantage of using brand
syrups is consistency. You can always be sure the
Brix level will be exact, which is very hard to do
from homemade syrups.
Harman: Start by making a simple syrup over the
stove top. Once the sugar has dissolved you can
add some flavour, such as a vanilla bean, a handful
of cloves or a knob of fresh ginger. Leave the spices
to infuse in the sugar syrup over a low heat to
create your syrup. Some things to consider: delicate
herbs and flowers such as basil, mint or rose don't
respond well to heat, so be careful when making
syrups with ingredients that bruise easily. From my
experience, it's tricky to make a fresh tasting syrup
that lasts longer then 2-3 days with these types of
ingredients. It's often easier to muddle the fresh
herb into each drink. The type of sugar you use to
make your syrup also is worth considering. Different
sugars react on the palate in slightly different ways.
Without wanting to get too nerdy about this, the
type of sugar you choose to make your syrup from
(white, raw, demerara or brown) will affect the
final flavour and texture of your syrup. Have a play
around and see what works for you.
A little bit of
SO WHAT ARE THEY FOR?
Syrups do a really great job of adding
sweetness to your cocktails, which can help
balance and add flavour says Clare Harman,
bar manager at Academy Kitchen and Bar.
"Every cocktail, from an Old Fashioned to a
sour, needs an element of sweetness to taste
good," she says. "The use of flavoured syrups
can give your cocktail a unique flavour that
really stands out."
Tomas Vikario, Monin's marketing and
beverage innovation manager, agrees, adding
that they can also bring colour and interest.
"Syrups are playing an important role in the
balance of any drink and classic cocktail," he
says. "Syrup helps to balance the drink recipe:
two parts of spirit, one part of sour and one
part of sweet."
According to Luke Jones, Asia-Pacific
sales manager for Reàl Cocktail Ingredients,
there has been a lot of stigma around
traditional syrups with artificial flavours that is
"The main purpose is to most importantly
provide a consistent flavour to our end
customers," he says. "While fresh fruit is
optimal the flavour and consistency sometimes
may not, whether it be to seasonal changes
or cost of goods, there is no guarantee on the
quality of the products."
Starting to use flavoured syrups in your
cocktails is as simple as swapping out the
simple syrup in a classic cocktail recipe with a
"Gin can work well with the citrusy and
herbal favours of lemon myrtle; or a peaty Islay
whisky can work well with Lapsang Souchong,
a smokey Chinese tea," says Harman. "Creating
a syrup from those ingredients is a simple way
of incorporating some unusual flavours."
If that won't work in your venue, high
quality, pre-made syrups can bring a lot to
"We have seen our product turned into
liquid gels for cocktails and infused into carved
ice cubes that release flavour as they slowly
dilute," says Jones.
THE HEALTH FOOD BRIGADE
While Harman jokes that she is tempted
to simply point certain health conscious
customers toward a vodka, lime and soda, she
clarifies that cocktails have a comparatively
low sugar level.
"Most cocktails on our list have about 5-20g
of sugar. A can of coke has 35g," she says.
"They are made fresh to order with natural
juices and ingredients, so if a customer's
perception is that cocktails are full of sugar,
they might be pleasantly surprised."
Jones points out that using a quality syrup
can also mean doing away with an extra
ingredient, like a liqueur.
"The difference with a commercial syrup
is that you get the perfect balance of sugar
in each drink as well as reducing the extra
ingredient in those cocktails, one that usually
incorporates more sugar," he says.
BITTERS & SYRUPS
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