Tag Archives | fruit syrups

Unique Fruit Syrups for Water & Cocktails

Sparkling Water with Lemon Ginger Syrup

Sparkling Water with Lemon Ginger Syrup


Unique Fruit Syrups for Beverages

Unique Fruit Syrups for Beverages













Working with fruit from our farm naturally led to making fruit preserves, but there comes a time when the mind seems to always say “OK, what’s next?”   I looked at fruit based pancake syrups, but not being a big breakfast person, this idea was quickly discarded.  Beverages!  Now there was something I enjoyed on a daily basis (water), and also during celebrations (cocktails).  I also wanted to try and get my daughter off of her diet soda habit, so I started experimenting with “beverage syrups”.  Like jellies without the “gel”.

Beverage syrups (that is, natural fruit beverage syrups) have a lot going for them actually:

  • You don’t need very much to give flavor to a drink, so you can keep the calorie content low.  You have the option of flavoring your drink to your own standard of taste and calorie content, unlike sodas or flavored waters you buy already prepared;
  • The fruit is “real” fresh fruit (not flavoring), and you don’t need to boil it for very long, so the beneficial nutrients are not boiled out of it;
  • They keep in the refrigerator for 2 months and you add the carbonation fresh each time you use them, so you don’t have to worry about your drink being “flat”;
  • Herbs and spices are easy to infuse into the syrups while being made, so you can get some very creative, unique flavors;
  • There is a lot of versatility in using them, from water, to sodastream carbonated waters, to lemonade, to tea, to smoothies, to cocktails.  They can also be drizzled over fruit salads, combined with vinegar for Shrubs, used as a glazed over grilled meats, and combined with oil and vinegar for salad dressings.

Here are some of the ways we have used the syrups lately:


Champagne with Strawberry Orange Cardamom Syrup

Champagne with Strawberry Orange Cardamom Syrup 


 In celebration of  “Getting Ready to go to Spain” we combined a little Strawberry Orange Cardamom Syrup with some Champagne.  Hey, you can always come up with a celebration if you loosen up your idea of what defines a celebration, eh?

Recipe:  Just combine a couple of tablespoons of syrup with cold Prosecco, Champagne or Cava and stir.







Smoothies with Blueberry-Pomegranate Syrup

Smoothies with Blueberry-Pomegranate Syrup


Blueberry-Pomegranate Smoothies for lunch during this warm spring in March.  Basic recipe is to add following ingredients in a blender and blend:

  1. a frozen banana (fresh if you don’t have frozen)
  2. about 3 Tbsp. Blueberry-Pomegranate Syrup
  3. vanilla yogurt (can be frozen yogurt if you don’t mind the calories); amount you add depends on how thick you like your smoothies.  I add about a cup
  4. non-fat milk
  5. frozen blueberries (about 1/2 cup)



Citrus water pitcher with Ginger Lime Syrup Drink

Citrus water pitcher with Ginger Lime Syrup Drink



The drink in this photo is lemonade in a pint jar with a couple of tablespoons of Ginger Lime Syrup stirred in.  The water pitcher with fruit in it is something we’re trying to keep filled up and visible so that we are tempted to drink more water.  It’s always much easier to go to water instead of soda if it is on your counter looking beautiful and refreshing (and easy).  Sometimes we might add a syrup to the water, and sometimes not.  I am anxious to see if this addition to our kitchen will lead my daughter to pouring a glass of water rather than opening a diet soda.



Soda Stream

My Soda Stream

I got this SodaStream Genesis Sparkling Water & Soda Maker last summer when I was getting into making the syrups.  I love it!  You just fill the gray liter bottle with water, screw it into the white attachment, pump the top five times, and Voila, you have sparkling water to keep in your fridge and use until you need to fill it with water and repeat.  It’s a perfect foil for the syrups.  Caveat:  the syrup packages that come with it do not taste very good and they do have various preservatives in them.

If you want to make your own fruit syrups, you can learn the process from this post on this blog, or of course you can order them online from me at HeathGlen.

These are just some ideas on how I personally like to use the syrups.  I know there are a lot of mixologists that are using syrups in all kinds of fancy cocktails.  Some sleuthing on google will lead you to a lot of different recipes for using the syrups.  I hope to experiment more with fruit vinegar shrubs this summer, but for now my Soda Stream is my go-to drink maker.




Smoked Tomato Martini Recipe – rimmed with sun-dried tomato salt

Bartending in Portland Oregon got me through graduate school and I do believe I’ve used those bartending skills more in post-college life than the skill set of  my urban planning degree (especially if you include the people skills you pick up while bartending).

fruit beverage syrups


Now would be an exciting time to work behind the bar, as bartening has evolved  into mixology, and mixing a good cocktail now is far more creative.  I used to pride myself on speed and memory, but those traits are now shadowed by what you can do with flavor and fresh ingredients.  Fortunately, I did retain a flavor memory of the various liqueurs, and now use that memory of flavors to enhance the different fruits in the jams I make.

Some of the beverage syrups in this picture use liqueurs also, but most of them are non-alcoholic so you can mix them with carbonated water.  Ever since I got the SodaStream, which makes carbonated water out of tap water in an instant, I’ve been experimenting with these syrups.

This winter I have been working with sun-dried and smoked tomatoes however, testing all the ways you can use them in food, and a serendipitous product resulted….tomato water.  The smoked tomatoes usually require a 20-minute soak in warm water and are then drained.  The flavor of these smoked and dried tomatoes is so intense that I thought the soaking water must retain a fairly high flavor.  It did.

sun-dried tomato salt



Now, what to do with tomato water?  I’m sure there are many uses, but of course the first that came to my mind is a martini.Especially because I had all of this tomato salt I had made, and thought that would be perfect around the rim.  The tomato salt is 50/50 sun-dried tomatoes and Maldon sea salt.  Lately I’ve been using it on everything, from eggs to chicken to cocktails!




Add a little lime juice and a dash of smoked paprika, garnish with smoked mozzarella and cherry tomatoes, and…



smoked tomato martini

I don’t really drink very many cocktails, especially at home, but I have to say it was a lot of fun greeting my husband as he came in from work with a rimmed martini in hand.  There’s a reason the show Mad Men is so popular.  It felt very chic…not like the baseball cap and dirty hands I usually have from working on the farm.  Here’s the recipe if you want to give it a try:

Smoky Tomato Martini

2 oz. Absolut Peppar Vodka

2 oz. tomato water (water left over from drained sun-dried or smoked tomatoes)

fresh squeezed lime juice (I used a couple of tsp., but flavor to taste)

pinch of smoked paprika

tomato salt for rim


1) Combine vodka, tomato water, lime juice and paprika in tumbler with ice

2) Stirred, not shaken (see this post from Jerry James Stone for an interesting article on the difference between shaken and stirred martinis)

3) garnish with cherry tomato, fresh mozzarella balls, and fresh basil

4) Sip and enjoy!



Making Fruit Syrups & Shrubs for Refreshing Summer Drinks & Cocktails


Blueberry Shrub Vodka Martini

Blueberry Shrub Vodka Martini

Our farm is small (23 acres), but it is amazing the amount of small fruit that you can grow on that amount of land. We started with blueberries 12 years ago, and have been adding various new fruits every year. Some have not worked out too well (kiwis, saskatoons, blackberries), but what we grow now through survival of the fittest includes currants, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, elderberries, chokecherries, gooseberries, sour cherries, rhubarb, and heirloom tomatoes.

I love, love fruit and love working with fruit. There is so much versatility in what you can do with fruit — I sometimes feel as if I’m racing against time to try all of the ideas I run across or dream up. I wondered the other day if the term “creative Juices” originated from someone who was working with fruit?

Anyway, the obsession with this year’s fruit is making beverage syrups. I got one of those wonderful SodaStream Genesis makers that are so popular in Europe and started adding fruit syrups to the carbonated water it makes. Made me feel ever so tres chic I must admit, but it happened to be incredibly good also. Stepping it up a notch from carbonated water and into the cocktail realm was even better. My cocktails of choice for the syrups include champagne cocktails & mojitos . If you’re into the mixology scene you can go wild with imaginative drinks. For me, my soda stream, a lemonade, iced tea, and an occasional “Blueberry Rumba” is making this hot, humid summer bearable.

One other interesting drink that’s surprisingly refreshing is an old-fashioned “berry shrub”. A shrub is essentially a fruit syrup drink with vinegar added. Sound weird? It was a very popular drink in the colonial era when refrigeration wasn’t available and vinegar could act as a preservative. It also provided the acidity to a drink when fresh citrus wasn’t available and offered the taste of summer in those bleak winters. The fruit and sugar really mellow out the vinegar taste and it’s really quite wonderful.

Here are the recipes for Blueberry Syrup and Blueberry Shrub followed by some drink recipes of how to use them:

Blueberry Tarragon Syrup:

juicing the berries


1) Juice the blueberries by simmering in a large pot over med-low heat with 1/4 cup water until they are soft and the juices run (about 15 min.).  You’ll get about 1 cup of juice for every 2 cups berries

straining the juice

2) Strain the juice through cheesecloth or a jelly bag.  A piece of nylon tulle placed in a strainer works as well as cheesecloth and doesn’t take as long. If you want the juice to be perfectly clear (as you would for a jelly), don’t push the pulp through the strainer. I don’t think clarity matters with a syrup, so I would push as much juice through the strainer as possible to get the maximum juice from your berries. (in our kitchen we use a commercial juicer that we ordered from Sweden)

3) Measure the juice and for every cup of juice measure equal amounts of cups of pure cane sugar. Many syrup companies use corn syrup as a thickener. You don’t need a thick syrup for beverages. If you want to make a thick pancake syrup, you can add a little pectin when you boil it up.

*note: commercial pectin is not an unhealthy additive; it is only dried citrus rind/pith or apple, standardized by testing the rind and adding enough sugar to the pectin so it works the same each application. Much worse to add corn syrup in my mind.

infusing the herbs


4)  Tie some sprigs of fresh tarragon (mint is also good) in a cheesecloth bag (around a cup of tarragon for every 4-6 cups of juice). Pour the juice into a large pot and add the bag of tarragon. Bring to a boil, then cover the pot, turn off the heat and let the tarragon infuse into the juice for about 20 minutes.

add to sparkling water and enjoy!


5) Remove the tarragon, add the sugar to the pot and bring to a boil, slowly, making sure all of the sugar is dissolved.  I usually add some fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice at this point, but it is optional.

6) Ladle into jars or bottles using a funnel; let cool and then refrigerate.  Stir in, to taste, to your favorite beverages


Basic Berry Shrub Recipe:

Combine 1 part apple cider vinegar, and 1 part pure cane sugar to 2 parts berries (or any kind of fruit). Bring ingredients to a slow boil, to dissolve the sugar. Stir. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain into a glass bottle. This is the quick way to make a shrub syrup. When we make them for market we let the berries steep in the sugar in the refrigerator for 3 days, strain, add vinegar and cover. It’s a little more complex that way, but the quick way is fine.

*Update:  for another shrub recipe using plums, cinnamon & orange zest, please see a new guest post that I put up over at Soda Stream’s blog, called Ms Fizz

Adding to carbonated water, lemonade, sparkling wine drinks:

The question I always get at markets is how much to use, and well……that depends really on how sweet you like your drink, which berry syrup you’re using, and what kind of drink you’re flavoring. With a glass of lemonade or sparkling wine I would probably add 2-3 Tablespoons of the Blueberry Tarragon Syrup. In carbonated water or mineral water I might add more to get a higher flavor profile.

By the way, these syrups are also great drizzled over fruit salads, pound cake, ice cream, or used with vinegar in a salad dressing. OK, here’s the cocktail recipes I promised:

Good Summer Cocktails with the Syrups:
Cabana Shrub
• 1-1/2 oz. white rum
• 1 oz. Blueberry Shrub Syrup
• 1/8 oz. lime juice
• 1 oz. Ginger Ale
Technique: Build in a short ice-filled glass. Top with ginger ale. Add garnish.

Blueberry Rumba Cocktail:
• 1 oz white rum
• 1/2 oz dark rum
• 1/4 oz triple sec
• 14 oz blue Curacao liqueur
• 3/4 oz blueberry syrup
• 2 oz. pineapple juice
• 2 oz lemonade
Technique: Shake liquors, syrup & juice in a shaker and strain into an ice-filled glass. Add lemonade.

R & B Cocktail
• 1 1/2 oz Gin
• 3/4 oz Blueberry Shrub
• 1/2 oz Lillet (this is an aperitif wine which blends Bordeaux wines and citrus – you can substitute white vermouth if you like)
• dash of orange bitters
Technique: Shake with ice and strain into cocktail glass


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