How to make Billie’s Simple Syrups, Shurbs, Orgeat and Allspice Dram

This is a post you will definitely want to bookmark. Making hand-crafted cocktails can be challenging and intimidating. But believe it or not, you probably have a lot of the ingredients to elevate your cocktails at home, like sugar and water, berries, almonds, milk, etc. Now don’t get us wrong, some are more challenging than others. So here it is, how to make homemade simple syrups, shrubs and orgeat courtesy of Liquid Chef Billie Keithley.

Before we start, learn the terms. Here are 23 must-know terms commonly used by bartenders and in recipes.

SIMPLE SYRUPS

How long do they last: 2 weeks refrigerated

Anise simple syrup: over medium heat combine 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar. Stir until dissolved. Add 5 star anise, cover, and let rest for 5 hours. Cocktail: Hallows and Horcruxes

Apple and sage simple syrup: over medium heat combine 1 cup of apple juice, 1 cup sugar and stir until dissolved. Add 12 basil leaves and let rest for 2 hours. Cocktail: Of All The Gin Joints

Of All The Gin Joints with apple and sage simple syrup

Banana simple syrup: muddle mint, banana syrup, lime and dram. Add half a glass of crushed ice and swizzle with swizzle stick or bar spoon. Add more crushed ice and bourbon. Swizzle, top with crushed ice & bitters. Cocktail: Swanky Banana Swizzle

Basil and honey syrup: over medium heat add 8 oz water, 4 oz honey, 4 oz sugar and 6 basil leaves. Stir until dissolved. Let cool and rest for an hour. Strain. Cocktail: Caprese Cocktail

Brown sugar and cinnamon simple syrup: over medium heat add 8 oz water and 8 oz brown sugar. Stir until dissolved. Add 5 cinnamon sticks and let rest. Cocktail: Passion For Peace

Butterfly pea flower simple syrup: over medium heat add 4 cups water, 1oz dried butterfly pea flowers, stir and let the color turn blue. Strain out the flowers, add 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt, 2 cups sugar. Stir until dissolved. Cocktail: Flutterby Potion

Cranberry, habanero and cinnamon simple syrup: over medium heat add 8 oz cranberry juice, 8 oz sugar, 4 oz cranberries muddled with 1 tablespoon chopped habanero pepper and pinch of ground cinnamon. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Let cool and strain. Refrigerate. Cocktail: The Blitzen

Cinnamon simple syrup: over medium heat add 1 cup water, 1 cup brown sugar, 5 cinnamon sticks. Simmer until dissolved and steep for 15 minutes.

Colorado Honey simple syrup: over medium heat, add 1 cup water, 1/2 cup honey & 1/2 cup sugar. Stir until dissolved. Cocktail: Oat Milk & HoneyWhat’s Up Doc, Muletide, Brown Derby

What’s Up Doc with Colorado Honey Simple Syrup

Honey, cardamom, and allspice simple syrup: over medium heat add 1/4 oz allspice berries and 1/4 oz cardamom seeds, muddled to the honey simple, see recipe under the Bee’s Knees. Let rest for an hour and strain. Cocktail: Our Nations Pollinators

Maple and date simple syrup: over medium heat add 8 oz water, 6 oz date sugar & 1-1/2 oz Tim Burton’s Maple syrup. Stir until dissolved and let cool. Cocktail: Maple & Date Old Fashioned

Mace simple syrup: over medium heat, add 8 oz water, 8 oz 365 Turbinado sugar and 8 whole mace shells. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Turn off heat & let rest for 2 hours. Cocktail: Jedi Master Mace Windu’s Old Fashioned

Mint tea and honey simple syrup: over medium heat add 8oz mint tea, 4oz honey and 4oz sugar. Stir until dissolved. Cocktail: Leprechaun Libation

Pandan and salt simple syrup: over medium heat add 8 oz water, 8 oz sugar, 1/2 bar spoon Pandan Extract and 1/2 bar spoon sea salt. Stir until dissolved. Let cool. Cocktail: Thai Me Up Coconut

PX Sherry, pomegranate, cranberry and cinnamon syrup: over low heat add 2oz pomegranate juice, 2oz cranberry juice, 4oz PX cask finish, 1 cinnamon stick, and 6oz brown sugar. Stir until dissolved, remove from heat and let sit fir 15min. Let cool and bottle. Will keep a few months refrigerated. Cocktail: Bag End Cobbler

Bag End Cobbler with PX Sherry, pomegranate, cranberry and cinnamon syrup

PX Sherry and tart cherry simple syrup: over medium heat add 2 oz Breckenridge Sherry Cask Finish, 6 oz tart cherry juice and 8 oz sugar. Stir until dissolved. Let cool. Cocktail: Old West Sunset

Raw simple syrup: over medium heat add 1 cup sugar in the raw, 1 cup water. Simmer until dissolved. Cocktail: Obi Wan Old Fashioned

Rosemary simple syrup: over medium heat add 1 cup water, 1 cup white sugar, 5 sprigs of rosemary. Simmer until dissolved and steep for 15 minutes. Cocktail: Genever Juice

Tart cherry simple syrup: 0ver medium heat add 16 oz tart cherry juice, 16 oz sugar, and 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste. Stir until dissolved. Add 1 cinnamon stick, 2 oz crushed allspice, 1 teaspoon cider vinegar. Stir and let rest for 6 hours. Strain and bottle. Cocktail: 9,600 Cider

Tea simple syrup: over medium heat add 8 oz brewed tea and 8 oz sugar. Stir until dissolved. Let cool. Cocktail: Breck Winter Tea

Breck Winter Tea with tea simple syrup

Toasted cardamom honey simple syrup: over medium heat in a skillet toast 25 cardamom pods. Add cardamom, 12oz water, 6oz honey, 6oz brown sugar. Stir until dissolved. Turn off heat and cover. Let rest for 6 hours. Strain and bottle. Cocktail: Ten Mile Toddy

Toasted fennel simple syrup: over medium heat add 8 oz water, 8 oz sugar and 1 bar spoon toasted fennel. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Cocktail: Ron Swanson Old Fashioned

Turbinado simple syrup: over medium heat add 8 oz water and 8 oz Turbinado sugar. Stir until dissolved. Let cool. Cocktail: Breckenridge Smash

Vanilla bean simple syrup: over medium heat, add 8 oz water, 8 oz sugar and 1/2 oz vanilla bean paste. Stir until dissolved. Let cool. Cocktail: Lime in Da Coconut “Daiquiri”

SHRUB

How long do they last: 4 weeks refrigerated

Blood orange shrub: over medium heat, add 1 cup of blood orange juice, 1 cup sugar and 2 oz of cider vinegar. Stir until dissolved.  Remove from heat. Let rest for 2 hours. Cocktail: Blood Orange Hard Soda

Blueberry, maple and peppercorn shrub: 8 oz blueberries, 8 oz water, 8 oz sugar,2 oz cider vinegar,2 oz maple syrup, 1 bar spoon peppercorn. Muddle blueberries & peppercorn in a saucepan. Over med heat add water, cider vinegar, maple syrup and sugar. Stir until dissolved. Cocktail: Bubbles, Blueberries & Boba Fett

Bubbles, Blueberries & Boba Fett with Blueberry, maple and peppercorn shrub

Cranberry, blackberry and pomegranate shrub: over medium heat add 8 oz cranberry juice, 6 oz sugar, 1 oz cider vinegar, 2 oz cranberries, 2 oz pomegranate seeds, 2 oz blackberries muddled. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Let rest 2 hours. Strain & bottle. Cocktail: Tis the Season Fizz

Fig, pear and apple shrub:  over medium heat add 3 oz fig jam, 4 oz unfiltered apple cider, 3 oz pear juice. 2 oz of cider vinegar, 6 oz brown sugar. Stir until dissolved. Let cool. Cocktail: Crisp Harvest

Huckleberry shrub: over medium heat, add 8 oz water, 4 oz huckleberry jam, 4 oz muddled grapes,  5 oz sugar, and 1/2 oz cider vinegar. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Let cool. Cocktail: Monster Smash

Melon shrub: blend a medium-sized honeydew with 4 Tbsp Apple cider vinegar. Strain. Cocktail: Dewd…Where’s My Mojito

Tart cherry, cranberry and maple shrub: over medium heat, add 12 oz 365 Tart Cherry Juice, 2 oz 365 Cranberry Juice, 1 oz Bragg Cider Vinegar, 2 oz 365 Maple Syrup & 12 oz sugar. Stir until dissolved. Let cool.

ORGEAT

How long do they last: 2 weeks refrigerated. If you add a little (1 oz) Breckenridge Spiced Rum, 3 to 4 weeks.

Make your own orgeat: Heat oven to 375. Spread 12 oz of raw almonds on a cookie sheet. Cook 10 minutes. Let cool (you can hear them crackle a bit). Add into spice grinder a few pulses at a time. Over medium heat add 5 cups water and 4 cups sugar. Stir until dissolved. Add Almonds. Turn off heat and cover. Let rest for 8 hours and strain. Cocktail: Nuts Over Rum Cask, Tiki Time

ALLSPICE DRAM

How long do they last: 3 months refrigerated

Allspice Dram Recipe:
2 cups Breckenridge Spiced Rum (Buy Now)
2oz brown sugar
3 cups water
4oz allspice berries
2 cinnamon sticks
1 clove

Muddle all spices, berries, breaking them up into pieces, not overdoing it. Add the Breckenridge Spiced Rum and berries together in a seal tight jar. Shake. Let steep for 5 days, shaking daily. Add cinnamon sticks broken into 2. After 2 more days add clove. After 10 days of steeping and shaking daily, strain out solids. Over medium heat, add brown sugar and stir until dissolved. Turn off heat. Add the Dram mix. Let cool. Put everything into the seal tight jar. Refrigerate for a couple more days before using. This is served superbly with Breckenridge Bourbon. Served hot is excellent. Cold is beautiful too.

Cocktail: Happy Dramsgiving

OTHER FUN RECIPES

Horchata mix: add 8 cups rice and 30 oz water, steep, blend & strain. 13 oz cream of coconut, 10 strawberries, 1 oz cinnamon simple, 1/2 oz vanilla bean paste, 8 oz rice water, blend together and strain. Cocktail: Barrel-Smoked Strawberry Horchata

Barrel-Smoked Strawberry Horchata

Hot buttered rum batter: add one stick of softened butter, 1 pint of churro ice cream (substitute your favorite decadent ice cream if you desire), 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon into a blender. Blend until it becomes a very thick milkshake consistency. Transfer to a covered container and keep in the freezer. Cocktail: Billie’s Hot Buttered Rum

Cuckoo coconut mix:  in a Vitamix blender, add 30 oz cream of coconut, 30 oz  Califia Farms Almond Milk (unsweetened), 20 oz Ceres pear juice, 20 oz Small Hand Foods Orgeat, 1/2 bar spoon of Turmeric. Blend until all is incorporated well. Cocktail: Cuckoo Coconut

Breckenridge Bourbon wash: add 1 stick of butter to a skillet on medium-low heat. Let it melt until it turns a caramel color and nutty aroma comes forth. Add 5 muddled sugar cookies. Stir. Pour the skillet and 375 ml of Breckenridge Bourbon into a plastic container. Let rest about an hour at room temp. (You’ll see the butter separating). Put into the freezer 4 hours. Take out of the freezer and pull the butter layer off. (Can use this delicious butter for a spread). Strain the rest into a bottle. Cocktail: Santa’s Lil Helper

Blood bubbles: 400 ml water, 4 bar spoons of salt, 3 grams of lecithin powder and 12 drops of red food coloring. Stir ingredients. Use an aquarium filter to create the bubbles. Cocktail: The Day Walker

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