Saturday, September 22, 2012

Grape Simple Syrup and Grape Pancake Syrup

If you've ever made your own cocktails, mocktails or flavoured sodas, you've undoubtedly heard of the useful ingredient simple syrup. In it's pure essence, the syrup is just equal parts sugar and water, heated together just enough to dissolve the sweetener into suspension. The liquid sweetener mixes much better into other liquids, especially those that are cold or cool like most alcohols and juices.

Personally, I find the "original" simple syrup to be a bit, well, boring. I don't drink (which could be part of the problem!), but I do like making my own flavoured seltzers and jazzing up plain oatmeal. Both of these need something a little more unique than just sugar water (and before anyone goes there, I love fruit, maple syrup and brown sugar in oatmeal too), and when our Concord grapes were weighing down the vines I figured I'd try to make my own simple syrup with their juice instead of water!

Since I was going for depth of flavour (so much for a "simple" syrup), I decided to use a mixture of sugar and dark amber honey to sweeten. It tasted fantastic on it's own, and the tangy nature of the grapes was a great balance for the other super sweet ingredients. Still, it only took a tiny amount to bring forth the flavour and sweetness that I was looking for in my applications, but for cocktails I'm sure you can get away with more. I can just imagine spiking a mimosa or daiquiri with a shot of this - or even turning a "Tequila Sunrise" into a "Tequila Sunset"!

When my mom tasted the syrup as it was, she loved the flavour - "not super sweet but sweet enough" is how she phrased it. She then asked me if I'd be able to turn it into a syrup thick enough for pancakes or waffles! I told her I would try, and with a few tweaks I had "the best tasting pancake syrup" she'd had in a long time! I don't know about you, but I'll stick to my maple on flapjacks, but over ice cream or yogurt? Divine.

Grape Simple Syrup
Makes about 3 3/4 cups, 30 (1-oz) servings
2 tbsp water
1 1/2 lbs Concord grapes
3/4 cup water
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 tbsp honey
  1. Place 2 tbsp water and the grapes in a saucepan, cover and simmer until the grapes have all popped and begun to disintegrate.
  2. Pour into a strainer lined with three layers of cheesecloth set over a large bowl. Allow to drain overnight.
  3. Place the juice into a saucepan and stir in the sugar and honey.
  4. Simmer until sugar dissolves, then pour into jars or bottles and store in the fridge.
Amount Per (1-oz) Serving
Calories: 45.3
Total Fat: 0.1 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 0.5 mg
Total Carbs: 11.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.1 g
Protein: 0.1 g

  • To make a syrup perfect for pancakes, waffles or ice cream, add 1/4 cup sugar to the finished simple syrup and bring to a boil.
  • Cook, stirring enough to keep from boiling over, for 5-10 minutes, until reduced to your preference (syrup will thicken slightly as it cools).
Amount Per (2-tbsp) Serving
Calories: 38.8
Total Fat: 0.1 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 4.3 mg
Total Carbs: 10.1 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.1 g
Protein: 0.1 g