All photos, recipes, comments and opinions are my own unless otherwise stated.
I love making creative syrups. They are an easy way to add flavor to a cocktail without increasing the alcohol content. Flavored syrups can also be used on top of ice cream or in place of pancake syrup.
Having flavored syrups on hand also keeps cocktail making time a little easier and quicker. The small amount of time invested in making the syrup allows versatility with your drinks as well. Take this Blackberry Mulled Wine for instance. One batch of syrup will make eight or more servings. That’s great if you’re serving 8 or more guests. Often I’m not entertaining a crowd, but I’d still like to have a drink or two. This blackberry syrup makes it all possible.
To make the syrup:
Yields approximately 12 ounces
6 ounce package Fresh or Frozen Blackberries
1 Orange – cut into chunks
1 cup Demerara Cane Sugar or Brown Sugar
2 Cinnamon Sticks
1 teaspoon Whole Cloves
1 cup Water
Place all ingredients into a saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium low. Mash fruits to release juice into the liquid. Simmer until liquid is reduced by about one-third. This takes approximately 20 minutes.
Strain fruit and spices from liquid and discard the fruits and spices.
If storing for later use: Allow syrup to cool to room temperature. Stir in 1 ounce Vodka (used as preservative) and pour mixture into a glass container with lid. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use. I’ve had syrup with vodka added stay fresh in the refrigerator 4 months.
If using for a large batch of mulled wine: Place syrup in a slow cooker or large pot. Turn heat to medium low for the stove or low for the slow cooker. Add the following according to the directions below.
Blackberry Mulled Wine
1 – 750 ml bottle Barefoot Cabernet Sauvignon
4 ounces E&J Gallo Brandy
12 ounces Blackberry Syrup
Add Cabernet Sauvignon and Brandy to saucepan with blackberry syrup. Heat to a low simmer. Remove from heat or keep pot on warm. Pour into a heat-proof mug. Garnish with orange twist.
Blackberry Mulled Wine
1-1/2 ounce Mulled Wine Syrup Base
4 ounces Barefoot Cabernet Sauvignon
1/2 ounce E&J Gallo Brandy
Place syrup, wine and brandy in a heat-proof mug. Heat in the microwave on high for 1 to 1-1/2 minutes. Garnish with Orange Twist.
Blackberry Mulled Wine contains lush sweetness with lots of blackberry and baking spice notes. Brandy smooths out the sweetness and drying edge that blackberry can sometimes leave on the tongue. This is excellent for batch or single serve use.
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Cheri Loughlin is the Omaha writer and photographer behind www.intoxicologist.net and author of Cocktails with a Tryst: An Affair with Mixology and Seduction. You can email Cheri with comments and questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.