Fruit Syrups and Fizzy Lifting Drinks

syrups glasses

For those who want a break from the booze or for those celebratory moments when children are present, these fruit syrups mixed with mineral water are a delicious and pretty alternative to soda. Refrigerated they will last for a very long time. They can also be used in place of maple syrup on pancakes, porridge, etc., or in place of honey to sweeten tea.

This started as a post on pomegranate jelly, but things became complicated. We’ll have to get back to the subject of jellies at a later date. After much work, what I wound up with was pomegranate syrup.

I seeded and juiced pomegranates but it’s much cheaper and easier to buy the juice. Thanks to companies like POM you can find pomegranate juice in the drinks case of most groceries. Just make sure pomegranate juice is the only ingredient in the bottle. Should you choose to brave the road from closed fruit to liberated seed… The method I used was to whack them in half and peel and seed them in a big bowl of water. The water keeps the juice from staining your hands, the seeds sink to the bottom, the pith and peel rise to the surface. I then whizzed the seeds in the food processor and strained the mixture through cheesecloth. Seven or so pomegranates yielded one cup of juice. With pomegranates costing as much as $3 per fruit, buying the ready made juice makes more sense. My mother just happened to hand me a sack of pomegranates from a tree I didn’t know she had.

Pears and tangerines are kitchen staples this time of year, and I always have ginger on hand, so I made syrup from those as well.

You can adjust the amount of sugar you use to your liking. A medium bodied syrup is typically a 1:1 ratio of water to sugar, but that’s really sweet so with the exception of the ginger syrup, I reduced that amount.

In general, if you have a fruit that juices well, like citrus, start with the juice. Other, more solid fruits like pears, cook in water with a ratio of 2:1 fruit to water until the fruit is soft. If the fruits aren’t very acidic, add a little lemon juice for tartness. Taste the juice or fruit stock and see how sweet it is. The fruit juices I used were very sweet already so I didn’t add a lot of sugar. When you add sugar, keep in mind it is going to concentrate as it reduces.

This freestyle method is intended for small amounts to be stored in the refrigerator or freezer, not canned for long periods of time. Sugar is a preservative and having the right amount for long term storage is important and if that’s what you’re doing please refer to a canning guide and recipe for the appropriate method.

Fizzy Lifting Drinks (makes one 8 oz. or 240ml glass)
Fruit syrup – 1 Tbsp. (15ml)
Sparkling mineral water – 8 oz. (240ml)

Use the syrups separately or combine. Ginger goes very well with the other three, especially pear.

Pear Syrup (makes approximately 1 cup)

8 pears (I used Bosc), peeled, cored and roughly chopped
4 cups (1 liter) water
1 cup (240ml) sugar
1 Tbsp. (15ml) lemon juice
Strainer and cheesecloth or jelly bag

Combine the pears, water and lemon juice in a medium stockpot. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally until the pears are soft, about 30 minutes.

Strain the liquid through a dampened cheesecloth lined strainer or jelly bag. If you want the syrup to stay clear, let the liquid pass through in its own time, don’t press the fruit.

Add the liquid back to the saucepan. Add the sugar. Simmer for 20-30 minutes until it reduces to a syrupy consistency. Let cool. Store in an airtight jar in the refrigerator for up to six months.

Pomegranate Syrup (makes approximately 1 cup or 240ml)

2 cups (480ml) pomegranate juice
1/4 cup (60ml) sugar
1 Tbsp. (15ml) lemon juice

If you’ve juiced the pomegranates yourself, strain the juice through a dampened cheesecloth lined strainer or jelly bag. You might also have a fair amount of sediment at the bottom of the juice. Try to keep that out of the syrup; it will make things cloudy.

Combine juice and sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 30-40 minutes until reduced to a syrupy consistency. Let cool. Store in an airtight jar in the refrigerator for up to six months.

Tangerine Syrup (makes approximately 1 cup or 240ml)

2 cups (480ml) tangerine juice (strained if you want a pulp free syrup)
1/4 cup (60ml) sugar

Combine juice and sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 30-40  minutes until reduced to a syrupy consistency. Let cool. Store in an airtight jar in the refrigerator for up to six months.

Ginger Syrup (makes approximately 1 cup or 240ml)

1 cup (240ml) fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup (240ml) water
1 cup (240ml) sugar
Strainer

Combine ginger, water and sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 30-40  minutes until reduced to a syrupy consistency. Strain. Let cool. Store in an airtight jar in the refrigerator for up to six months.

glasses