There are a wide variety of tasty syrups available in stores. These can be used in a variety of drinks from Italian sodas to milkshakes. There are two problems with most of them. The first problem is that they are made with artificial colors and flavors. The second problem is that acquiring a variety of flavors can be cost prohibitive. The issues lead to me trying to develop a better method of creating syrups. This recipe was a result.
My qualifications were simple. The syrups had to be cheap and composed of only ingredients you could find at most any grocery store. It also had to be made with all natural ingredients and reasonably shelf stable. After a few conversations with chefs and bartenders, I arrived at a recipe that met all of these criteria. Best of all, this recipe is incredible easy to make and I documented the whole process with my shiny new camera. If you can boil water, you can make this recipe.
To create the flavor base, I considered many potential ingredients. The easiest, most stable, and least expensive were flavored teas. I chose the Celestial Seasoning flavors because they are caffeine free and include no actual tea. I picked a sampler pack to get a variety of flavors.
In order to get the most flavor out of the tea bags, I chose to let them steep overnight. In order to do this, I picked up a case of Ball canning jars. Any jar with a lid would have worked. In fact, if you have the counter space available, no lid is actually needed.
In each of the 8 oz jars I used 4 tea bags. This is created an extremely strong flavor. If you prefer a lighter flavor, you could use more water or fewer bags. I used a tea kettle for boiling the water and added it to each of the jars. I saved the packaging to keep the flavors straight.
After the tea was sealed in the jar, I attached the labels under the canning rings.
After 24 hours, I removed the jars from my cabinet. They had grown very dark and had a very strong flavor.
I removed the bags from the jar and squeezed the remaining tea from the bags. This left 6 oz of liquid which I added to a sauce pan over Medium-Low heat. I added 6 oz of sugar to the liquid once it began simmering. I stirred it until the sugar was completely dissolved.
This yielded just less than 9 oz of syrup. Using a large measuring cup, I poured them into some small cruets that I had picked up at World Market.
The packaging labels that I had been using to keep the flavors straight…
… became labels for the bottles.
The syrups lasted about two weeks without being refrigerated. With refrigeration (or a small amount of grain alcohol) they would last considerable longer.
These syrups have a wide variety of applications in home or restaurant settings. Now that you have the recipe for the syrups, a variety of different drinks are possible. So far I have tried Italian sodas, lassi, bubble tea, and iced tea. These and other recipes will be added to this blog soon. If you try this at home or want to add your own drink ideas, the comment section is open.