Friday, August 30, 2013

Summer Berry Syrups & a Labor Day Cocktail

It's the Labor Day long weekend and most of us will be trying to squeeze in one more relaxing weekend of summer.  Fresh, local berries are one of my favorite things about summer and I couldn't resist doing one more round of cooking with them before September rolled around.

Berry Syrup (I made one with strawberries and one with blueberries)
2 lbs of clean, washed berries
4 cups of cold water
2 cups of granulated sugar
Sprig of basil (for the strawberry syrup)
splash of lemon juice

Cut the strawberries into 1/2" pieces and add to a pot with 4 cups of water.  Bring mixture to a boil, then simmer for about 20 minutes. You're looking for the stage when the color has come out of the berries.  For blueberries, I mash them a bit instead of cutting them.
The strawberries have started to lose their color, they're getting more opaque. This was after about 5 minutes in the water.
Once the water has changed color, pour everything through a fine strainer or sieve.  Do not mash the berry mixture, just gently move it around until the liquid is out.  Mashing it won't add much more than some floating bits of fruit that interfere with the syrup's silky texture.
You can see some of the blueberry pulp that is left behind from putting it through a sieve
Add sugar to the liquid, stir and bring to a boil. Once a boil is reached, turn the heat down to simmer it for about 3-4 minutes until the sugar has completely dissolved.





I like to put my liquid through a sieve again to make sure there are no lumpy bits. The sieve I'm using is from Sur La Table but most kitchen stores would sell one.  You may get a little bit of foaming when you get it poured out of the pot and through the sieve- don't panic, it will go away with a gently stir and after it settles.

I then transfer it to a container for storage. I have storage jars from Kilner that I love using for these.  I leave the lid off until it has cooled then seal it and put it in the fridge. It easily lasts for several weeks.


If you're looking for a cocktail recipe and want something a little different- try this. It involves adding the syrup to a mixture of rum (I like Cuban rum), orange juice, club soda and a splash of triple sec.  It's also great to add the syrup to club soda with a splash of lime, for a refreshing non-alcoholic drink.


Enjoy!

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