Homemade syrups, ways to use them

It starts out easily enough: Combine one-part water with one-part granulated sugar, boil until dissolved, chill. But little do people know, simple syrups can be as varied and diverse as any other foodstuff. By mixing in spices, herbs, fruit—truly anything your little heart can imagine, you have instant flavoured sweetener. And it’s not just for cocktails. Drizzle on a simple butter-rich pound cake for a seasonal flavour boost, add a splash to whipped cream for sweet spice, stir into your morning coffee or tea to cut out the overpriced coffee chains, or, yes, use it in cocktails for a tinge of sweet flavour.

 

Here are some simple syrup recipes for you to put into good use.

 

Rose simple syrup

 

Rose’s Luxury in Washington, DC makes this sprightly, pretty cocktail, a mix of rye, rose-tinged simple syrup, fresh lemon juice, and bitters.

 

You will need

 

13 cup sugar

2 drops rose extract, such as Terra

12 oz. rye whiskey (preferably Rittenhouse)

34 oz. rose simple syrup

12 oz. fresh lemon juice

2 dashes Fee Brothers Old Fashioned bitters

 

Make the simple syrup: In a 1-qt. saucepan, stir the sugar with 13 cup water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the rose extract. Let cool completely.

In a cocktail shaker, combine the whiskey, syrup, lemon juice, and bitters with ice. Shake vigorously, and strain into a chilled rocks glass. Garnish with rose petals.

 

Fresh mint simple syrup

The ultimate in freshness, use this syrup to sweeten lemonade, tea or even whip it into cream for a dessert topping.

 

You will need

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

1 bunch fresh mint

 

Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan. Boil until sugar is fully dissolved. Pour the syrup into a heatproof container filled with hand-crushed mint. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight; strain and discard mint. Mint syrup will keep for up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator.

 

Blackberry lavender syrup

 

Tart blackberries and floral dried lavender marry in this syrup, perfect for mixing into cocktails such as a gimlet or French 75, or with sparkling water for homemade soda.

 

You will need

1 cup blackberries

1 cup sugar

2 tbsp. dried lavender (or 12 cup fresh lavender buds)

 

In a small saucepan, bring the blackberries, sugar, lavender, and 1 cup water to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring to crush the berries, until slightly reduced, about 10 minutes. Pour the syrup through a fine sieve into a bowl and discard the solids. Transfer the syrup to a bottle and refrigerate before using.

 

Lemon chamomile syrup

 

Fragrant chamomile flowers and lemon peels marry in this syrup, perfect for mixing into cocktails such as brandy smash or a Collins, or with sparkling water for homemade soda.

 

You will need

 

1 lemon

2 tbsp. dried chamomile flowers

2 cups sugar

 

Using a vegetable peeler, peel the zest of the lemon into strips and place the strips in a small saucepan along with 2 cups water and the chamomile. Bring to a boil over high heat and then remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Pour the syrup through a fine sieve into a bowl, discard the solids, and stir in the sugar until dissolved. Transfer the syrup to a bottle and refrigerate before using.

Bored of using simple syrup or off-the-shelf ones? Try making your own exciting ones today!

At Mixes From Mars, homemade syrups are something that we use in nearly all our events as we are able to control the intensity of the flavours that we desire for us to make your event cocktails that will meet all your expectations. From homemade floral syrups such as hibiscus to bluebellvine, to tea flavoured ones, homemade syrups are something that we pride ourselves in. Drop us an enquiry today to have great tasting cocktails specially prepared with our homemade syrups!

Chocolates are yummy to nearly everyone!

Chocolate Cocktails

Chocolate is a favourite ingredient for many delicious treats and most love to enjoy it on its own as well! It is not uncommon for us to receive enquiries for chocolate flavoured drinks and it is something that we at Mixes From Mars enjoy working with!

Adding a little chocolate to a cocktail makes for a delicious, dessert-like drink. However, not all chocolate cocktails are sweet and frothy confections, although some most definitely are. With the right chocolate cocktail recipe, you’ll find there’s something for everyone.

1. Chocolate Old-Fashioned

An old-fashioned is a classic cocktail. This chocolate twist is lightly sweet and complex with the addition of chocolate bitters. The recipe makes one cocktail.

Ingredients

  • 1 sugar cube
  • 3 dashes chocolate bitters
  • 1 orange twist
  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • Splash of water
  • Ice cubes
  • 1 maraschino cherry

Instructions

  1. Put the sugar cube in an old-fashioned glass. Add three to four dashes of the chocolate bitters and the orange twist.
  2. Muddle the ingredients in the glass until the sugar is crushed and the orange twist releases its oils.
  3. Add the bourbon and a splash of water. Stir. Add ice cubes to preference.
  4. Garnish with the cherry.

 

  1. Chocolate Mint Julep

The trick to a tasty mint julep is plenty of finely crushed ice. To make it, you can place ice in a zipper bag and whack it with a mallet until it is finely crushed. This chocolate twist on the Kentucky Derby classic makes one drink. It gets its chocolate flavour from chocolate mint.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
  • 10 chocolate mint leaves, plus additional for garnish
  • Splash of club soda, plus soda to fill the glass, divided
  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • Crushed ice

Instructions

  1. In a julep cup (or a double Scotch glass or another 8-ounce short glass), muddle the sugar, mint, and a splash of the club soda.
  2. Gently stir in the bourbon.
  3. Add the crushed ice and remaining club soda to fill the glass. Stir gently again.
  4. Garnish with a sprig of chocolate mint.

If you’d like a version with even more chocolate, add a half ounce of white creme de cacao when you add the club soda and ice.

 

3. Chocolate Malt

If you ever had a chocolate malt with a burger, then you’ll love the nostalgia of this tasty cocktail. It uses delicious RumChata, a cream liqueur with rum. The recipe makes two drinks.

Ingredients

  • 3 ounces RumChata
  • 2 ounces vanilla vodka
  • 1/4 cup chocolate syrup
  • 2 scoops vanilla ice cream
  • 1/4 cup milk or cream

Instructions

In a blender, combine all ingredients until well blended. Add additional milk to thin to the desired consistency.

 

4. Mexican Hot Chocolate

This isn’t your regular hot chocolate – unless you’ve always enjoyed yours spiked with some cayenne, a bit of cinnamon, and a nice shot of tequila. This warming drink will leave you wanting more. The recipe makes two drinks.

Ingredients

  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 12 ounces milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 ounces tequila
  • Whipped cream

Instructions

  1. In a small saucepan, heat the chocolate, milk, sugar, cinnamon, cayenne, and vanilla on medium-low heat, whisking constantly. Bring to a simmer.
  2. In two mugs, add an ounce of tequila each. Add the chocolate mixture and stir to combine.
  3. Serve topped with whipped cream and garnished with additional cinnamon sprinkles if desired.

 

5. Chocolate-Covered Strawberry

While no strawberries are actually covered with chocolate in the making of this drink, the flavour brings to mind this delectable combo. Of course, you can feel free to garnish with a chocolate-dipped strawberry if you’re feeling super fancy. The recipe makes one drink.

Ingredients

  • 1/2-ounce white creme de cacao
  • 1 1/2 ounces strawberry liqueur
  • 1-ounce heavy cream
  • Strawberries for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a small glass, combine the creme de cacao, strawberry liqueur, and cream, stirring to mix well.
  2. Garnish with a strawberry.

 

Looking to have chocolate flavoured drinks at your next event? Do not hesitate to drop us an enquiry today!

We love gin!

Appreciating Gin and Happy Negroni Week!

 

It’s Negroni Week! The popular cocktail classic is celebrated around the world! With Negroni, many variations have popped up including the Sbagliato, a fizzy twist which replaces Gin with Sparkling Wine (Sbagliato literally means “messed up” in Italian) and the Boulevardier, with Gin as its base. Of course, there are many more different ways to twist and make a Negroni but for today we will focus on Gin, an integral part of Negroni and many famous class cocktails.

Gin is perhaps the most versatile of the distilled spirits. Sure, whisky is delicious. But gin has a wonderfully complex flavour profile that is unrivalled by any other spirit.

At its core, gin is a neutral spirit that has been flavoured with juniper, and often a variety of herbs, spices, flowers, citrus, and other flavors. Lemon, orange, and lime, as well as coriander, cardamom, and allspice, are all common. Right from the get go, gin is gifted with an almost infinite range of possible flavors and profiles. There’s a gin out there to match your taste. And, for the same reasons, there is a perfect gin for every cocktail, liqueur, and mixer.

The final flavour of gin, unlike most other spirits, relies less on the base spirit or the aging process than it does on the additions made by the distiller during production. Let’s take a stroll through the process of how gin is made:

  1. Obtaining the neutral spirit.

Some distilleries will actually just source an already-distilled base spirit from another distillery. Others will use leftover base spirit from other liquors they make in-house. And still others will go through the process of creating their own from scratch. As with other liquors, the basic process consists of:

  • Creating a mash. Grain, water, and yeast are combined and heated, then allowed to ferment to create a low-alcohol “beer.”
  • The “beer” is strained, put into a still, and heated. Since alcohol has a lower boiling point than water, the alcohol will turn to vapor while the water and other by-products are left behind, so long as the proper temperature range is maintained. The alcohol vapor condenses and is collected as the pure, neutral spirit.
  1. Flavouring with botanicals.

Next, herbs, spices, citrus, flowers, and other flavourings are added to the neutral spirit. All gin contains juniper berries but the unique recipe of other botanicals is what makes each gin special. The time and technique vary.

  1. Final distillation.

Most commercial gins undergo a final distillation at this stage. They’re run through the still one more time, which allows the spirit to retain the flavour of the botanicals, while getting rid of any colour that it has taken on.

Recipes

As everyone knows, gin is usually enjoyed with some tonic but feel free to give a few of these recipes a try:

Negroni

  • 1 part gin
  • 1 part Campari
  • 1 part sweet vermouth
  • Orange twist

Combine gin, Campari, vermouth in a stirring glass and stir for about 20 – 30 seconds. Strain into an ice-filled rocks glass. Using a vegetable peeler or zester, cut a very thin strip of orange peel (avoid the white pith), squeeze the twist over glass to release its oils, run the peel over the rim of the glass, and drop into drink.

French 75

  • 2 oz gin
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • Champagne (or other dry sparkling wine)
  • Lemon twist

In a shaker with ice, combine gin, syrup, and lemon; shake well. Strain into a chilled flute or coupe and top up with champagne. Serve up with a strip of lemon zest as garnish.

Gin Rickey

  • 3 oz gin
  • ½ fresh lime
  • Sparkling  water

Squeeze lime half into a rocks glass or large wine goblet. Fill glass with ice. Add gin, bitters, and sparkling water. Give it a light lift with a bar spoon to combine.

Should any of you Gin aficionados are looking to organize a gin party, feel free to get in touch with our events bartending crew will be able to craft a menu for you and ensure your Gin addictions are well fed. Have an awesome Negroni week, cheers!

National Gin and Tonic Day

National Gin and Tonic Day

Its National Gin and Tonic Day today. Just to clarify, International Gin and Tonic day fall on the 19th October but National Gin and Tonic is celebrated only in the United States of America. But hey, more reasons to drink in sunny Singapore.

Gin is a spirit that is made from juniper berries and the method of distillation creates the distinct flavour of each gin brand. The spirit was first sold in the 17th century in pharmacies as a cure for medical issues like gout, gallstones and stomach problems. It is unclear if gin actually cured those problems but a delicious drink was discovered that way.

Gin is more often than not drank together with tonic water. Tonic also has a medical history and was sold in the 19th century to British officials to prevent the spread of malaria. Quinine was used to prevent the disease but was too bitter to drink so the British mixed it with soda and sugar and thus, tonic came about. Today tonic only contains a little bit of quinine, just enough for a slightly bitter flavour.

When served correctly, gin and tonic sounds, looks, smells and tastes irresistible. To celebrate international gin and tonic day, why not take it to another level with these recipes. For all the drinks, we recommend a 45ml serving of gin (if another spirit is added, decrease the amount of gin appropriately) and 100ml serving of tonic water. Use a nice long glass and fill the glass right to the top with some ice and use straws if you wish.

The Parisian

Take a herbal gin and pour a tablespoon of elderflower liqueur in. Add equal parts tonic water and champagne, garnish with a slapped sage leaf or two and a lemon wedge.

The “Too Cool”

Use a gin with fresh cucumber notes and pair with an elderflower flavoured tonic. Garnish with long ribbons of cucumber and a sprig of mint.

The Posh Gin and Tonic

Take a vibrant, citrussy gin and add a tablespoon of sweet vermouth. Add two dashes of peach bitters, top with tonic and garnish with a generous handful of luscious seasonal berries.

The Sloe Down

Sloe gin combines ridiculously well with lemon tonic, flirt with a zest of lemon over the glass and drop it in.

The Ol’smokey

Marry a juniper-heavy gin with half a teaspoon of a super smokey whiskey. Add a dash of apricot liqueur and top with tonic, garnish with a chunky pink grapefruit zest.

The Tonic Delight

Select a floral gin and add a tablespoon of rose water, a tablespoon of peach liqueur and two dashes of grapefruit bitters. Go demure on the garnish and top with a rose petal.

The Guilty Pleasure

Pour a herbal-style gin and grab a few leaves of fresh mint, slap them and drop them in. Pop in two dashes of mint bitters and a tablespoon of chocolate liqueur. Introduce the tonic then garnish with a few sprigs of mint and some luxurious grated dark chocolate.

Stuck in the Med

Pick up some intriguing herbaceous gin and introduce it to a Mediterranean-style tonic. Rim your glass with some herbed sea salt, slap some fresh rosemary and stand it tall in the glass.
And finally,

The Evolver

Make some flavoured water by boiling some herbs in water for a minute or two. Let the water cool then freeze the water and add the ice cubes to a classic gin and tonic – the drink’s flavour profile will evolve throughout the drinking. Garnish with the matching herbs for that extra special touch.

Gin is a widely versatile ingredient that can be used in many different types of cocktail. If your event is looking for something gin related, we can craft a customized menu comprising of different types of Gin and Tonics to suit your taste and preferences. As always, have a good week ahead, cheers!

Mardi Gras originates from New Orleans where it a variety of classic cocktails originates.

Mardi Gras

In a day, Mardi Gras will be celebrated throughout the world. Mardi Gras is also known as “Fat Tuesday” as it is the day before Ash Wednesday when Lent starts. During Lent, many Christians commit to fasting and relinquishing some luxuries to replicated the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Hence, many people binge on food, drinks and celebrations prior to Lent.

Festivities Procession

Mardi Gras is known as one of the biggest carnivals in the world. The festivities are plenty and planned on a grand scale. Revellers party on the streets while colourful floats pass. Masked balls are also hosted which add on to the Mardi Gras vibes. Additionally, Mardi Gras is known for the colourful beaded necklaces which are thrown around. It is the most iconic symbol of Mardi Gras and many people collect them as souvenirs. In comparison, Singapore’s Chingay is a smaller festival which also involves floats, just that the attendance and scale of it are not that grand.

Food and Drinks

The most iconic food at Mardi Gras is the King cake. It is a cinnamon dough cake that is sprinkled with coloured sugar and glazed with frosting. They also come in various colours and flavoured fillings such as cream cheese and strawberry. An estimated 500,000 king cakes are sold during Mardi Gras. One interesting tidbit is that each cake contains a small plastic baby doll inside, whoever finds it must buy the next cake or host the next party the following year.

Now comes the good part, the alcoholic portion of Mardi Gras. Alcohol is plentiful during this annual rite of imbibition, ranging from beers to cocktails in novelty glasses. New Orleans is a place with a rich cocktail history, it is also one of the places where Mardi Gras is held at every year.With a place aptly named Bourbon Street, drinking here will never feel out of place. While New Orleans might be too far from Singapore, we have put together a list of famous cocktails originating from New Orleans which you can make in the comfort of your own home.

Hurricane

The Hurricane was named so because of the glassware it was served in. Its origins are also special in that it was due to a scarcity of scotch, whiskey and bourbon that led to its popularity. Distributors made bar owners buy rum in order to get access to other liquors. A bar named the Pat O’Brien decided to create a rum-based cocktail with the excess rum. The original recipe calls for passion fruit juice but as it is quite difficult to obtain, we recommend using the nectar which is slightly sweeter.

  • 1 oz Dark Rum
  • 1 oz White Rum
  • 1/2 oz Lime Juice
  • 1/2 oz Orange Juice
  • 1 oz Passion Fruit Nectar
  • 1/2 oz Simple Syrup
  • 1/2 oz Grenadine
  • Shake and strain into a Hurricane Glass filled with Tube Ice
  • Garnish with Dehydrated Orange and skewered Amarena Cherries

Vieux Carre

The Vieux Carre is a French translation of the word, French Quarter. It is the oldest section in New Orleans. Invented in Carousel Bar, this cocktail is pretty strong and carries many complex flavours.

  • 3/4 oz Rye Whiskey
  • 3/4 oz Cognac
  • 3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 1 teaspoon Benedictine Dom
  • 2 dash Peychaud Bitters
  • 2 dash Angostura Bitters
  • Stir and Strain into a Coupe or Rock Glass(For aesthetical purposes, King Ice or Ice Ball will be perfect)
  • Garnish with a Lemon Twist

Ramos Gin Fizz

Created in Meyer’s Restaurant in New Orleans by Henry C. Ramos, The Ramos Gin Fizz is a popular cocktail during Mardi Gras for its taste. It is also known as a technically challenging cocktail as it incorporates a variety of steps to ensure the froth and fizz are of an exceptional standard. It is known to emphasise vigorous shaking to make the egg white and cream mix well together while gently topping up of soda to ensure the fizz does not dissipate.

  • 1 1/2 oz Gin
  • 1/2 oz Lime Juice
  • 1/2 oz Lemon Juice
  • 1 oz Simple Syrup
  • 2 oz Milk, Cream or Half and Half
  • 1 Egg White
  • 2 Dashes Of Orange Blossom Water
  • Shake Vigorously and Strain into a Highball Glass
  • Gently Top with Club Soda and Lift with Barspoon
  • Garnish with Lime Rind or Wheel

Of course, the above recipes are based on our preferences, feel free to give it a tweak to cater to your taste and preferences. We might incorporate some of these cocktails into our next mobile bartending event if it suits the theme! As always have a good weekend ahead and Happy Mardi Gras, cheers!

Old Fashioned

Old Fashioned Week

As the month of November begins, a special week starts as well. Old Fashioned Week has started! It started out in 2015 in France and has since gone on to include various bars from all over the world. This year, it is held from the 2nd to the 11th of November. While its main objectives are to bring introduce and share about the iconic classic, it also supports Bartend Against. It is a charity initiative that supports a variety of causes. At present it is supporting hurricane and earthquake relief.

What is an Old Fashioned?

For the uninitiated, an Old Fashioned is a classic that was developed in the 19th Century. It consists of whisky, sugar or simple syrup and angostura bitters. While there are many different recipes, the ones we are familiar with calls for 1 and a half ounce of Whisky, splash of simple syrup and 2 dashes of angostura bitters. Give it a good stir and it is then ready to be served.

A popular argument regarding the Old Fashioned is on the type of whisky used: Bourbon or Rye.  Usually, we use bourbon but we recommend using whichever you prefer. Scotch and Japanese whiskys give the cocktail a different twist that makes it more interesting.

One of the ways bartenders use to incorporate the sweet part of the cocktail is to make a simple syrup solution, equal parts water and sugar. Back in Mars Bar, another method was to put a sugar cube in the Old Fashioned Glass, dripped angostura bitters till it covered the cube fully, then mash up the mixture. The whisky is added next and it is then stirred with ice. While this might seem more special and generates interest, it takes a bit more time compared to pre-batching simple syrups.

Variations

With the changing times, many bartenders are putting their own spin to this classic. One very popular twist is as above, switch it to the base liquor of your choice. Bourbon, Rye or Scotch. There are some who recommend using Rum and Gin too, we think its a pretty cool idea.

The next will be to switch the sugar out for demarara. It is darker in color compared to its counterpart. The main difference is in the taste as demarara is processed minimally, thus retaining some of the natural flavor of molasses. Add on the different bitters that you can use and you will get so many variations of an Old Fashioned.

Our Recipes

Fire Roasted Old Fashioned

A Hopscotch Classic, Fire Roasted Old Fashioned

Back at Hopscotch, we had a very popular tipple on our house menu called the “Fire Roasted Old Fashioned”. It consisted of Scotch, Coconut Water Reduction, Gula Melaka garnished with Torched Dehydrated Pineapply & Amarena Cherry. It was then served in a Old Fashioned Glass. The theme at Hopscotch and Mars Bar was to use something local in the menus, in the case of this drink it was the gula melaka.

Chocolate Old Fashioned

Chocolate Old Fashioned

A crowd favourite among our clients and customers both at the bar and at events. The Chocolate Old Fashioned consists of Bourbon, Simple Syrup and Chocolate Bitters. We sometimes added in more chocolate liqueur if the customer was a chocoholic. The main idea of this drink is that chocolate is irresistible to most people, why not add in alcohol and make it a boozier cocktail. Dark rum can also be swapped with the Bourbon to give it a richer and mellower taste.

The team at Mixes from Mars hope you enjoy the coming weekend at the Old Fashioned Week, stay safe and drink responsibly. Have a good weekend ahead, cheers!