Even if you don’t consider yourself to be remotely Delia-like, you can show off your culinary skills by making your own syrups. Not only are they easy to concoct but they give simple alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks more fun and on a geeky level, more complexity.

Of course you can keep your homemade syrups straight to the point with single types of fruits such as berries – all types from red to black and everything in between – rhubarb, apples, peaches and oranges, you get the idea but if you fancy getting more creative, try playing around with flavour combos. Strawberries and mint, blackberries and rosemary, cranberry and orange, rhubarb and ginger, apples and cinnamon all behave nicely together and are just a few of the pairings that will add more interest to your glass.

As for the actual doing part: all it takes is a few minutes to wash and chop your chosen fruit and another five minutes or so to boil together with sugar and water. When that’s done strain off the pulp and you’re good to go. Once cooled off, you can use the liquid to flavour sparkling water or add a fruity twist to your plain old vodka and tonic. It also does lovely things to bubbles (Prosecco or Cava, no need for popping open the real McCoy). As for that delicious fruit left in your strainer, use that to perk up vanilla ice cream or sprinkle with a crumble topping.

The Cocktail Lovers say:

The important thing is the ratio: stick to equal parts water, caster sugar and fresh fruits/herbs.

Bring ingredients to the boil for approximately five minutes – if you want more intensity, leave for an extra minute or so. Set aside to cool then strain off the fruit pulp and pour into a sterilised bottle or kilner jar. Refrigerate and use within three weeks.

This week we’re loving:

Getting an insight into the way we experience taste with the Grey Goose Iconoclasts of Taste project. More details to follow soon.

Written for The Independent Dish of the Day blog 9/5/2013 


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