Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Gifting: Gingerbread Syrup

Friendship is always a sweet responsibility, never an opportunity. – Khalil Gibran 

Although usually used in coffee, this would just as easily live in a martini or cocktail.

Here’s an amazingly simple gift that easily defines comfort and relaxation. Think of late mornings in winter, sitting in the warmth of your favourite coffee shop looking out over the snowy street, sipping flavoured coffee and talking with a special friend.

Before boiling.
Those coffees set you back a pretty penny. So can the friend, but that would be an entirely different post.

But more to my point, flavoured syrups are unbelievably easy to make at home. They also are inexpensive, and impressive gifts.

If you want to make an impact, you should think seriously about making  a few syrups this Christmas. There’s lots of flavours to choose to make—just take a look at the lineup at Starbucks.

Ingredients for homemade syrups are easily obtainable, depending on what you want to make, and you can have them bottled in no time at all. 

Chocolate, vanilla, raspberry, peppermint… they’re all a breeze. If you can boil and flavour sugar and water you can make gourmet syrups.

After simmering. Just barely brown.
For example, to make peppermint syrup, just boil equal parts water and sugar as outlined below and then add as many drops of peppermint extract as you like. Unbelievably easy.

This one’s a gingerbread syrup, in keeping with the season. The flavours are ginger, cinnamon stick and clove. Just like the cookies and cake.

The only real expense to make these as gifts would be decorative bottles. I used my usual liqueur bottles with cork stoppers, at about $1/bottle.

Don’t gift the syrup in too small a container. Each cup of coffee would need about one to two tablespoons to flavour. It’s such a nice and useful present to receive it’s sure to go quickly!

Of course coffee is the usual use, but certainly not the only one. It just as easily would lift a martini or other cocktail out of the ordinary to take those holiday parties to new heights!

Gingerbread Syrup
Prep: 2 min  |  Cook: 20 min  |  Yield 2 x 375 ml
3 cups water
2-3/4 cups granulated sugar
2” piece of fresh ginger, sliced
3x 3” cinnamon sticks
12 whole cloves
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Combine all the ingredients in a pot. 

Bring to a boil and let cook  for 20 minutes. The temperature should be about 210°F.

After 20 minutes, strain the solids from the syrup, stir in the vanilla and bottle.

Place a piece of the cinnamon stick and a few of the cloves from the pot in each bottle. This will deepen the spiciness over time.

Refrigerate until ready to use. Will keep for at least 1 month.


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