I love using homemade simple syrups in our cocktails. Once I mastered the base recipe for simple syrup, I began experimenting with flavors. You may be wondering, how does one “master” making simple syrup. Isn’t it sugar and water? It may be only made with these two ingredients, but different sugars, as well as the amount that is used, make all the difference. All sugars are not created as equals when it comes to making simple syrups.
The past few times I have been using demerara sugar and am really pleased with the results. Lots of depth, complexity, and not overly sweet. Did I mention the gorgeous amber color? While most recipes call for a 2:1 ratio with ingredients, I added a little more sugar, which I felt was key to taking the recipe over the top. The flavor was richer, and the texture was a bit more syrupy.
For this year’s holiday cocktails, I have been making a cranberry simple syrup, using the same basic ingredients but adding fresh cranberries to the mix. You have to use fresh berries here, frozen are not the same. Most frozen fruit has been processed with some sweeteners as well as some added moisture. The simple syrup does not come out the same using frozen berries. I have put a few bags of fresh cranberries in the freezer but have yet to try using them in this recipe.
This is a lovely champagne cocktail to serve your guests as it is festive as well as seasonal. Happy Holidays!
Cranberry Simple Syrup
- 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons demerara sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup fresh cranberries
- In a saucepan over low heat add the sugar and the water; stir. Cook until the sugar is dissolved, about 8 minutes. Do not bring to a boil, keep at low heat.
- Add the cranberries, stir, and remove from the heat. Let cool. Bottle and then store in refrigerator until ready to use.
Cranberry Champagne Cocktail
- 1 oz cranberry simple syrup
- Kaffir lime
- Fresh cranberries for garnish
- In a champagne flute put the simple syrup and the juice from 1/4 of a kaffir lime.
- Using the rind that you just squeezed juice from, lightly rub around the rim of the flute.
- Top the simple syrup with Champagne.
- Thread some fresh cranberries onto a cocktail stirrer and garnish. Serve. Sip.
All photos styled and shot by Denise Woodward.
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