Abma's Farm: Wyckoff, NJ
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Stirrings: Simple Syrup

There's a discussion on chowhound.com on where to find simple syrup...made by Stirrings.

At first I thought I must have misread the post; surely Stirrings isn't bottling sugar water and selling it as "simple syrup" (and if they were, surely no one is foolish enough to buy it).  Bottling and selling sugar water (or more accurately, corn syrup water) is nothing new of course, but at least you get the satisfaction of a clever name like "Coke" or "Grenadine" with other sugar water products.  However, a quick jump to the Stirrings website confirmed my fears:  they are selling simple syrup.  At 5 bucks for 12 ounces!

Brilliant stuff.  

My first inclination was to ask the posters on Chowhound what advantage they see in using this product, rather than making simple syrup on their own.  However, the moderators (and quite frankly the posters to a large extent) at Chowhound do not appreciate questions and open discourse, and my question would have ultimately gone unanswered in any satisfactory way, and then removed.

That's OK though, because it seems that the folks at Stirrings knew people might be questioning the rationale behind such a ridiculous product, so they do offer an explanation:

Did you know: Simple Syrup is a blend of granulated sugar and hot water, mixed together and cooled. It’s not always so simple however, as getting the right water temperature is imperative to having the correct viscosity in the finished syrup.

Yes, of course.  The "right water temperature."  There must have been high-fives around the office when they came up with this angle. I won't even begin to start dismantling this claim, with respect to how this product might improve a cocktail made by the purchaser (it won't).

Here's my recipe for simple syrup:

  • Fill a bottle up halfway (or a tad more) with water.
  • Fill the rest with sugar (less or more depending on your taste).
  • Shake it until the sugar is dissolved (it won't take long, and it will dissolve, trust me).
  • No heating.
  • No mess.
  • No "right temperature."

This works for me.  I know about how sweet it will be, and I know how much I need to add to cocktails.  That's more important than viscosity in my book. 

I should add that Stirrings makes an "Authentic Grenadine" (a slightly less-foolish purchase) which is quite good, and leaps and bounds beyond the regular sugar-water grenadine that you get at the stores.

Grenadine is used in the lovely, beautiful, and classic Ward 8 cocktail, which includes bourbon, lemon juice, and orange juice.  Drink it, even with the crappy sugar water Grenadine that has been in your cabinet for the last 8 years, if you must.