Recipes from Sara Justice, a lead bartender at one of Atlanta’s top restaurants

Ever try dissolving a packet of sugar into your iced tea? While sweetening a hot drink is generally a snap, adding sugar, even honey, to iced cold liquid is not as easy as it seems. Sweetness, one of four basic tastes, is oftentimes an important part of creating a well-balanced cocktail, and that’s where simple syrup, a staple for most bartenders, comes in handy. The great thing is that simple syrup is a cinch to make, even as a beginner. Gently heat equal parts sugar and water until the sugar is completely dissolved, then cool completely before using. You can use herbs, fruits, and vegetables picked fresh from your summer garden to create an array of flavored syrups. In addition, tea may be used instead of water to make the syrup, which keeps the flavors pure when used to sweeten iced tea. Syrups make a great addition to iced coffee, lemonade, iced tea and, of course, cocktails.

Raspberry Simple Syrup:

Measure raspberries (by weight if possible) and add twice the amount of granulated sugar (Ex: 5 oz. of raspberries to 10 oz. of sugar). Muddle the fruit until you see the juices start to release and wet the sugar. Cover and store overnight at room temperature. Stir and muddle again after 24 hours. Then add equal parts water to sugar (Ex: 10 oz. sugar to 10 oz. water). Stir again to dissolve all of the sugar. Strain, bottle, and enjoy! This syrup has a 1 month shelf life. Any fruit, especially berries will work great with this recipe.

Use in a Classic Clover Club:

1.5 oz. Gin

.5 oz. Dry Vermouth

.5 oz. Raspberry Syrup

.5 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice

1 Egg White

Add all of the ingredients to a cocktail shaker and shake. Add ice and shake again. Strain and serve up. Bottle and enjoy! This syrup will have a 1 month shelf life.

Tea Syrup:

1 oz. Tea (by weight if possible)

8 oz. Water

Bring water to a boil, turn off heat and add the tea, steep for desired amount of time depending on tea (green tea – 3 minutes, black tea – 4 minutes, herbal tea – 10 minutes). Strain the tea and then measure the remaining amount of liquid. Add an equal amount of granulated sugar to tea (Ex: 6 oz. tea to 6 oz. sugar). Stir to dissolve sugar. Bottle and enjoy! This syrup will have a 1 month shelf life.

Holeman & Finch’s Bonnie Scotland

2 oz. Belle Meade Bourbon

.75 oz. Hibiscus Tea Syrup*

.75 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice

1 Dash Peychaud’s Bitters

1 Dash Absinthe

Add all of the ingredients to a shaker and shake. Fill a highball glass with ice and strain the cocktail into the glass. Top with club soda.

*Make Hibiscus Tea Syrup using recipe above, with dried hibiscus flowers.

Sara Justice, lead bartender at Holeman and Finch Public House will be demonstrating at AmericasMart on Saturday, July 12  on how adding eggs to refreshing temperance cocktails, lemonades and punches can lighten them up for summer.

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