I just made a homemade vanilla simple syrup and it was incredible.  So, I'm now inspired to start homemaking all of the syrups for my cafe.  I'm going straight to one I know will be challenging- cherry for my cherry mocha.  Citrus curddles milk, and cherries have citrus, so this one won't be as simple as just throwing some cherries into a batch of simple syrup.  But I don't just want to use an artificial cherry flavor concentrate either.  Anybody have any experience making syrups from citrus based fruits for use in drinks with milk?

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Not to nitpick, but did you mean to say that cherry juice was acidic? After all, cherries are stonefruits, not citrus fruits. Doesn't change the challenge though.

 

For some reason, I feel like prolonged covered simmering increases the pH of a stew. I recently loaned out my copy of "On Food and Cooking" which would probably discuss. This is why slow-cooked stews and sauces can taste a little flat, and benefit from brightening with a shot of acid before serving. I wonder if you couldn't try the same thing with your mashed/macerated cherries or juice? Perhaps do your infusion as a long covered simmer. That might have a detrimental effect on the flavor though.

 

Another thing to play with might be the cherries that you use. Some cherries taste considerably more tart than others, so you might find that your pH varied as well? Perhaps you could try making one with a super-sweet cherry first?

 

One last observation... I've never been terribly pleased with the way the real natural-tasting cherry syrups worked in a cherry mocha. Is it a real honest cherry flavor that you are looking for, or are you more seeking that cherry + maraschino or amaretto "chocolate covered cherry" flavor? If the latter, you might try looking up recipes for homemade amaretto liqueur... I recall seeing one in Imbibe? that used peach pits.

 

Hope that helped.

Josh thats awesome! I am opening a shop soon and plan to make my own vanilla, chocolate, and caramel syrups. Would you mind posting your recipe?
Out of curiosity, are any of you with shops monitored by your local environmental health department when it comes to making your own syrups/sauces? We're mobile and aren't inspected/monitored as closely as a food truck or a restaurant, but they do insist that in order to stay in the category we're in all consumed goods must be prepackaged. Things such as using premade smoothie mixes instead of using fresh fruit, not making our own pastries, etc. Just wondering how making our own syrups/sauces would factor into this. Thanks in advance!
I have said copy of "on food and cooking." I'll do some research and get back to you.

Brady said:

Not to nitpick, but did you mean to say that cherry juice was acidic? After all, cherries are stonefruits, not citrus fruits. Doesn't change the challenge though.

 

For some reason, I feel like prolonged covered simmering increases the pH of a stew. I recently loaned out my copy of "On Food and Cooking" which would probably discuss. This is why slow-cooked stews and sauces can taste a little flat, and benefit from brightening with a shot of acid before serving. I wonder if you couldn't try the same thing with your mashed/macerated cherries or juice? Perhaps do your infusion as a long covered simmer. That might have a detrimental effect on the flavor though.

 

Another thing to play with might be the cherries that you use. Some cherries taste considerably more tart than others, so you might find that your pH varied as well? Perhaps you could try making one with a super-sweet cherry first?

 

One last observation... I've never been terribly pleased with the way the real natural-tasting cherry syrups worked in a cherry mocha. Is it a real honest cherry flavor that you are looking for, or are you more seeking that cherry + maraschino or amaretto "chocolate covered cherry" flavor? If the latter, you might try looking up recipes for homemade amaretto liqueur... I recall seeing one in Imbibe? that used peach pits.

 

Hope that helped.

Sure thing Chris.  I played around a lot with my base simple syrup to get the exact sweetness I wanted.  I wound up with approximately a 1.5:1 sugar to water ratio.  For a 750 ml bottle I use 2 2/3 cups of sugar and 2 cups of water.  Once the sugar is fully dissolved and I've got my base, I split my vanilla bean, scrape the seeds into the syrup and wisk so the seeds don't clump together, then add the pods.  After about 20 minutes on low heat, I strain the syrup through a mesh filter to catch most of the seeds, funnel into a bottle and throw in the pods for flare.  The vanilla bean is packed with flavor, and this method is not only cheaper than buying a premade syrup, it's a lot tastier.  Good luck, and let me know how it goes!

Chris said:
Josh thats awesome! I am opening a shop soon and plan to make my own vanilla, chocolate, and caramel syrups. Would you mind posting your recipe?
Great thanks! How many vanilla beans? Do you use bottles with pump tops?
They're not citrus fruits, but I was under the impression that they did have some citric acid in them.  Maybe I'm used to cherry juice based syrups that have currdled milk in the past.  I vaguely remember that recipe in Imbibe.  I'll have to look back and see if I can find that.  Maybe If I made a true cherry syrup in addition to an amaretto and combined them when making the drink, it would be better.  I get what you're saying about that- sort of like how grape flavoring doesn't taste at all like grape.  I hadn't really thought of that.  I'll probably try a combination of things and test them out on my baristas to see what works the best.  Thanks for the post!

Brady said:

Not to nitpick, but did you mean to say that cherry juice was acidic? After all, cherries are stonefruits, not citrus fruits. Doesn't change the challenge though.

 

For some reason, I feel like prolonged covered simmering increases the pH of a stew. I recently loaned out my copy of "On Food and Cooking" which would probably discuss. This is why slow-cooked stews and sauces can taste a little flat, and benefit from brightening with a shot of acid before serving. I wonder if you couldn't try the same thing with your mashed/macerated cherries or juice? Perhaps do your infusion as a long covered simmer. That might have a detrimental effect on the flavor though.

 

Another thing to play with might be the cherries that you use. Some cherries taste considerably more tart than others, so you might find that your pH varied as well? Perhaps you could try making one with a super-sweet cherry first?

 

One last observation... I've never been terribly pleased with the way the real natural-tasting cherry syrups worked in a cherry mocha. Is it a real honest cherry flavor that you are looking for, or are you more seeking that cherry + maraschino or amaretto "chocolate covered cherry" flavor? If the latter, you might try looking up recipes for homemade amaretto liqueur... I recall seeing one in Imbibe? that used peach pits.

 

Hope that helped.

I hadn't really considered that, but it's probably something I should confirm just to be safe.  We do bake our own pastries, so I know we have at least some capacity to homemake.  Thanks for the foresight, that would be a pretty unpleasant barrier if I found out I couldn't do if after I had already figured everything out.  I'll let you know what I find out about that.

Shadow said:
Out of curiosity, are any of you with shops monitored by your local environmental health department when it comes to making your own syrups/sauces? We're mobile and aren't inspected/monitored as closely as a food truck or a restaurant, but they do insist that in order to stay in the category we're in all consumed goods must be prepackaged. Things such as using premade smoothie mixes instead of using fresh fruit, not making our own pastries, etc. Just wondering how making our own syrups/sauces would factor into this. Thanks in advance!
A single vanilla bean is all it takes.  They're pretty powerful.  I currently use pump tops, but I think as I replace my syrups with homemade ones and start going for the more artisan vibe, I'll probably switch over to pourers with a jigger to measure.  Pumps are great for consistency, but it just doesn't look as good to the customer.  Imagine a bartender making a cocktail with pumps.  Even if the proportions are perfect it just seems to me that something is lost.  Also depends on the size of the staff.  I've got a very small group of experienced baristas, so I trust them with pourers.  If it were a larger group with less experience, I'd probably stick to the pumps or else consistency would become really sporadic.  There are different merits to both depending on the circumstances.

Chris said:
Great thanks! How many vanilla beans? Do you use bottles with pump tops?
Thanks for the info! You are right on too with the pourers. I am going for a more artisan vibe as well and am trying to figure out the best way to distribute the choc, caramel, and vanilla syrups.

Josh Aldy said:
A single vanilla bean is all it takes.  They're pretty powerful.  I currently use pump tops, but I think as I replace my syrups with homemade ones and start going for the more artisan vibe, I'll probably switch over to pourers with a jigger to measure.  Pumps are great for consistency, but it just doesn't look as good to the customer.  Imagine a bartender making a cocktail with pumps.  Even if the proportions are perfect it just seems to me that something is lost.  Also depends on the size of the staff.  I've got a very small group of experienced baristas, so I trust them with pourers.  If it were a larger group with less experience, I'd probably stick to the pumps or else consistency would become really sporadic.  There are different merits to both depending on the circumstances.

Chris said:
Great thanks! How many vanilla beans? Do you use bottles with pump tops?
I'm doing this too! Making my own syrups,it's been a fun experiment. My fav so far: red wine dark chocolate. I don't put a ton of sugar so that the tart fruitiness stands out more than the sugar. Made a really interesting macchiato out of it. Lots of room for fun experimentation and tastes better and is more rewarding to use your own syrups.


Red wine dark chocolate?! Shut the front door. That sounds incredible. Kudos to you, Christos Andrews.

 

I am currently in a battle attempting to make a natural mocha with chocolate bar pieces. (Think Carabou technique, with WAY better cocoa quality) It seems that the cocoa powders from the bars seperate when they hit the liquid. I'm contactng Guittard chocolate today to see if they have any solutions or could recommend a kick ass chocolate base. I talked with one of their reps back at the SCAA show 2009. They seem to really love what they do and were very helpful. If anyone has any good ideas for making a mocha naturally, I'd lve to hear it. We've been using Monin sauce, which is awesome, dont get me wrong. I'd just like to start making everything in house. The Cocoa selection we have here in Alabma is generally pretty shitty.

 

Also, we just introduced a whiskey caramel sauce made in house. way easier than chocolate, obviously. It . is. amazing. It takes about an hour or two to make, and it takes constant stirring/attention. Butter, sugar, whiskey, vanilla, cream of tartar, heavy whipping cream.

 

after we figure out the chocolate situation, I'd also like to experiment with a honey suckle-venom, made by reducing honey suckle blossoms in vodka.

 

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