Homemade apple syrup captures the flavors of fall.
In the Northeast, Buffalo NY to be exact, apple season is huge.
Going to a farmers market and being able to choose from 5 or 10 different locally grown varieties is incredible, and tasting the surprising differences between them is actually more interesting than you might think.
And just as I enjoy apples, I also like all of the baked goods, cider, and other treats that accompany them.
Creating a fall cocktail syrup
To me, nothing embodies what fall tastes like better than a classic apple pie in all its’ rich spicy goodness, so that is what I wanted to capture with this apple syrup.
What first inspired me to make this was the frustration of not being able to get the amount of apple flavor I wanted in a cocktail by just using apple juice. Certain juices such as lemon, orange and pineapple hold their own in drinks, but quieter fruits like apple, pear or watermelon can get a little lost in the mix.
A juice may taste really nice on its’ own but as soon as other ingredients come into play the flavor disappears.
And that’s where a syrup comes in.
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By making an apple syrup with juice you are effectively concentrating the fruit flavor into less liquid so you can add a smaller amount and still get the apple flavor you were hoping for.
Not only does creating syrups from juice concentrate flavors, but it also changes them to be more “jammy” and cooked tasting. This may not always be what you want but with certain fruits like apples, pomegranate, and pears, it works quite well.
An additional level of interest can brought in by adding spices, other juices, or different sweeteners to compliment the fruit to create a totally unique ingredient.
Note that this is different from using the maceration technique to make a syrup such as with something like raspberry syrup. When I am looking for a more fresh and bright syrup I will macerate the fruit with sugar (if that particular fruit allows) and not cook the syrup for too long so as to preserve the original character of the fruit. But to get that apple pie vibe, the best option is to use apple juice and cook it down with sugar, vanilla and cinnamon.
The making of Apple Syrup
Alright, really not much to this. The ingredients are self explanatory just use high quality cinnamon and vanilla.
The only tricky thing can be getting fresh apple juice. Most of the stuff that is sold in stores has been clarified and pasteurized which takes out a lot of the real apple flavor, so do your best to use some fresh stuff.
The best option is using a home juicer if you have one (I realize many people don’t), or if there is anywhere near you that makes apple cider that is not over processed, you can use that.
One last option is to use some serious elbow grease and squeeze the juice from the apples by hand. That is not a joke, but there’s more to it. Either chop the apples into pieces and make an apple pulp in a food processor or blender, or you can use the really fine side of a cheese grater and grate them whole.
Once you have all the apple “pulp” place it in a cheese cloth or really fine strainer and squeeze out the juice. It’s a lot of work but you can actually get a pretty good yield. If I didn’t explain it well, watch this quick YouTube video to see what I mean.
A little fresh lemon juice will add a bit of dimension as well as help hold the color of your syrup, and a pinch of salt helps the flavors pop just as it would in cooking anything else.
Splashing in a few drops of Everclear or another high proof neutral spirit will help you get a few extra days of freshness. Store it in the fridge in an airtight container and use it within two weeks or so. You might be able to use it for even longer that that, but the flavor starts to deteriorate, and to really get the most out of it you should use it in more like 2-5 days.
Use this syrup to make some awesome cocktails, or serve it warm on vanilla ice cream for a killer sundae.
USED IN: Apple Crisp
Apple Syrup Recipe
- 100 g Fresh Unfiltered Apple Juice
- 25 g Cane Sugar
- 1 tsp Lemon Juice
- 1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1/4 tsp Cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- splash Everclear - (optional)
- Add all the ingredients to a small saucepan.
- Simmer on low heat until the volume reduces by half
- Add in a tiny bit of Everclear or high proof vodka to help preserve (optional).
- Store in the fridge and use within a week.