A good simple syrup is the base for sodas, ice cream sodas, fresh “Cows” (your own home version of the Brown Cow), sparkling fruit ades, iced teas and tisanes and bar drinks. You can prepare a simple vanilla simple syrup as your base or you can add herbs such as mint, lemon verbena, lavender or thyme, spices such as cinnamon stick, cloves or allspice, strawberries, raspberries or blueberries or rose petals to create an infusion. If you add any of the extras, follow the instructions below and then allow to cool.
Place sugar and water into a medium saucepan on medium-high heat. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and place in pan. Bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat and cook just below the boiling point for 15 minutes.
Turn off heat and allow to cool. Pour into a container and chill in the refrigerator. You can keep the vanilla bean in the liquid for another day for a strong vanilla flavor, or remove, rinse in fresh water, wipe dry and save for another use.
Note: You can use 2 tablespoons of Rain’s Choice Vanilla Extract (or to taste) to flavor the simple syrup but vanilla beans produce a more rounded flavor (or add extract to the vanilla bean syrup if you want it really strongly flavored with vanilla. You may also substitute agave nectar or a light flavored honey such as orange blossom or vetch for the sugar.
Once you have the simple syrup made, you are ready for summer sparklers. You can make lemon or limeade by squeezing 5 lemons or about 10 limes into a pitcher, add 1/2 cup of vanilla simple syrup and then soda water. Taste and adjust for sweetness or add more soda water if it’s too strong. Slice an additional lemon or lime to float in the pitcher. Serve over ice.
Note: For berry syrup, add 1 pound strawberries, blueberries or raspberries to the basic vanilla syrup mix, cook for 15 – 20 minutes until the berries have fully released their juices. Allow to cool then press through a fine-mesh screen. Store in refrigerator. If you have included herbs and/or spices in the simple syrup, strain them out once the syrup has cooled.
Check out the recipes for Vanilla Creme Soda or Vanilla Egg Creme. You can also make flavorful ice cream sodas using the berry flavored vanilla simple syrup. In tall fountain glasses, place 1 tablespoon of crushed raspberries, strawberries or blueberries. Add one scoop of vanilla ice cream, another tablespoon of fruit, and one more scoop of ice cream. Add 2 – 3 tablespoons of the berry flavored syrup, then fill the glass with soda water. Serve with a spoon and straw.
Vanilla Simple Syrup can be used to sweeten iced tea. There are several iced tea drinks in our beverage section.
For bar drinks, keep the basic vanilla simple syrup in the refrigerator. It’s a perfect base for alcoholic punches and “paper umbrella” drinks.