Tag Archives: simple syrup

Simple Syrup and Pumpkin Spice!

October 17, 2013

Filed Under : drinks

For the longest time I loved Starbuck’s pumpkin spice latte and anxiously awaited the coming of fall and this fabulous seasonal treat. Then it seemed that pumpkin spice started taking over the world. Or as a recent (awesome) meme says:

And you know what? Suddenly I’m a little over the whole pumpkin spice thing. Mostly I’m disgusted to find out that the majority of the “pumpkin spice” stuff out there actually contains ZERO pumpkin. Bah!

Still, every once in a while I miss the treat of spicy, sweet coffee or latte. Then, earlier this week M at DebtBlag.com posted about a less expensive, homemade version of pumpkin spice coffee, and I had to throw in my recipe for homemade syrup and contribute to the pumpkin spice mayhem!

Before I get to the actual pumpkin spice part, I want to talk about simple syrup – because simple syrup is the key component to any sweet flavor you want to add to coffee, tea, or more adult-oriented beverages.

 Simple Syrup

Simple syrup is the easiest thing in the world to make. I laugh and shake my head when I see people buying it in the grocery store or liquor store. They pay $4.99 for a 12 or 18 oz bottle of sticky sweet goo made with corn sweetener and, in some cases, “artificial color”. Why on EARTH does simple syrup need artificial color? I have no idea.

Simple syrup is nothing more than 1 part sugar to 1 part water, simmered until dissolved. Really. That’s it. Simple, right?

For this recipe put 1 cup of sugar in a small saucepan, add 1 cup of water, and turn the heat on low. And then WALK AWAY. Really. Don’t stir it. Don’t swish it. Don’t whisk it. Just walk away and let it be. If you stir and whisk, you’ll cause the sugar to crystalize. That’s a no-no.

simple syrup | © karacooks.com

After about 20 mins it will look like this – clear and bubbly with maybe a little bit of sugar on the bottom. You can stir that in gently with a spatula or whisk at this point.

simple syrup | © karacooks.com

That’s simple syrup. $0.15 worth of sugar and some water and a little heat. Now why would you pay $4.99 for that in a bottle?

Plus you can make all kinds of varieties of simple syrup. Try one part honey to one part water. Or one part brown sugar to one part water. Or one part raw sugar to one part water. They all have a subtly different flavor and are all easy and inexpensive to make.

Let it cool, pour it into a bottle or jar, and it’ll keep in your fridge for several weeks. It might get cloudy when it’s chilled, but it’s still perfectly usable and will clear up as it returns to room temperature.

So, now that you have your simple sugar, let’s use it to make your pumpkin spice syrup!

Adding Pumpkin Spice

To your simmering simple syrup, add 1/4 cup of pumpkin puree:

pumpkin spice syrup | © karacooks.com

And one heaping tsp of pumpkin pie spice:

pumpkin spice syrup | © karacooks.com

Whisk it all together:

pumpkin spice syrup | © karacooks.com

And bring it to a gentle simmer before straining it into a jar:

pumpkin spice syrup | © karacooks.com

You’ll be left with about 1-1/4 cups of pumpkin spice syrup which will keep in the fridge for about a month (if it lasts that long).

pumpkin spice syrup | © karacooks.com

Add a tablespoon or two to a cup of coffee, spoon it over vanilla ice cream, add it to tea, or make up your own creative use for it. And enjoy!

painted lady – a drink

June 19, 2011

Filed Under : drinks

A few weeks ago I spent a long weekend with my sisterfriend Cathy at her place in Birmingham. We planned some cooking, some shopping, some hanging out. Her wonderful hubby helped lubricate our weekend by providing some quality adult beverages.

It started out with a recipe that came with the gin, but we found that as written it made a weak, somewhat flavorless drink. So we took matters into our own hands and developed our own version. We doubled the gin (of course) and removed the soda … to come up with a very martini-like drink with a lovely summery flavor!

painted lady - a gin drink |© karacooks + kara hudson

Here’s the modified recipe:

  • 2 parts gin (use a really good quality gin like Hendricks – this is what makes the drink)
  • 1 part simple syrup
  • 1 part lemon juice
  • 1 part grapefruit juice
  • 1 spoonful (a bar spoon, or about 1 tsp) grenadine syrup

Put all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake for 30-45 seconds. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a twist of lemon.


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