Cold infused flavour bombs
Flavors can be extracted and preserved in many ways. One way to preserve extracted flavors is by adding sugar and creating syrups.
In cocktail bars syrups are used as sweetening agents which add extra layers of flavour to a drink. As such they are an indispensable component in any cocktail bar
Not long ago we were introduced to Herbert Syrups, which is a new brand of seriously tasty syrups new to Copenhagen’s bar scene.
The Slovakian founder of Herbert Syrups, Mario Marko, had been exporing the world of flavour pairing as a bartender on London’s throbbing bar scene for several years, when he decided to transform his knowledge of the matter into bottled syrups to be used in bars and cafés.
Mario moved back to Trnava, Slovakia and established a company to produce syrups inspired by his grandmother’s old recipes. This was the beginning of Herbert Syrups. We talked to Mario to find out what’s what about this new brand.
“Making home-made syrups used to be a common thing in Slovakia – almost every family had their own secret recipes. This was what inspired me to create Herbert Syrups.
I combined my grand mothers’ traditional craft and knowledge, with my experience with flavour pairing from travelling the world into a line of syrups that I believe people can relate to and bartenders would love to work with. The ambition was to create experimental, yet known and comforting flavours.” – Mario Marko
Syrups – what’s all that fuzz about?
A so called simple syrup is water with added sugar – boiled and then cooled down.
A flavoured syrup is simply a simple syrup with the addition of a flavour generating ingredient. A macerate of the flavour component is added – boiled, cooled down, and strained (Straining can be done through a cloth).
So what distinguishes Herbet syrups compared to other flavoured syrups out there?
Mario: The main difference is our method of maceration and cold infusion.
Most syrups are made as simple syrups. They are cooked, pasteurized and most likely enriched by e-subjects of all different kinds. This is not necessarily good, but it keeps the cost of the syrups very low.
Our method of cold infusion, helps the ingredients stay ‘alive’ inside the bottle and to be preserved in the most natural way. Heating basically destroy 50% of the product.
We take great care in choosing the right ingredients and knowing how to use them. We know majority of the farmers supplying the ingredients and many of them we visit on yearly basis so we can be certain about the quality of our product.
The study of characteristics of each ingredient is very important to utilize its full potential and knowing how each herb, tea and spice react together and how they create the right balance is the craftsmanship behind making good syrups. Last but not least, the timing of adding each ingredient in exact temperature is absolutely crucial, and this skill is mastered only through many years of making syrups.
Where’s the trend heading for flavoured syrups in the contemporary bar these days?
Mario: In terms of flavoured syrups, bartenders will do one of three things:
- they will either make the syrups themselves, to ensure the exact steps and quality in production. This, in most cases is very cost inefficient as it is time-consuming and the syrups will easily spoil. Some bartenders might not agree with me on this, but for many it’s a relevant question whether it’s worth the hassle. I leave up to them.
- They will purchase the syrup. But until recent years there was only a limited offer of not-so-good syrups, which all the bartenders and consumers are getting slowly tired of. That is why we see more and more quality craft syrup companies emerging. In this new market you need to compete on the quality. To our knowledge, we are the only syrup company neither pasteurizing nor cooking our syrups.
- They will use them for non-alcoholic cocktails. You definitely need to be very innovative, if a non-alcoholic drinker pays a high price for your creations. You don’t want to serve just a juice, or some watery something… you want to create a full cocktail, just without alcohol. A good syrup can add flavour and complexity when a spirit can’t.
Which flavoured syrups are available from Herbert Syrups today?
Mario: Usually we have at least eight to ten flavours available depending on season. At the moment, we offer:
Maté & Mint
Jasmin & Orange
Thyme & Lemon
Basil & Green pepper
Ginger & Camomile
Ginger & Hibiscus
Raspberry & Rose
Cucumber & Lime
Lavender & Blueberry
All of these can be used as base for refreshing lemonades, cocktails/non-alcoholic cocktails, ice creams, sorbets, cheesecakes, pancakes, fruit and herb salads, even as an extra flavour in your favourite barbecue sauce.
And where can you get these in Copenhagen?
Mario: We of course offer free tastings for restaurants/bars/cafés through out Denmark. Out contact for Copenhagen and Sjælland is Patrik@herbertsyrups.dk, and for Fyn & Jutland it is firstname.lastname@example.org. These guys take care of our development in Denmark and would be more than happy to introduce any establishment to our products. We will be also available for professionals in INCO from 1-June-2018.
For home use and smaller quantities, you can buy our 0,35 L bottles at Juul’s Vin og Spiritus or Kihoskh at Sonder Boulevard.
Examples of a few cocktail recipes with Herberts flavoured syrup:
Basil & Green Pepper
2 cl Bassil & Green Pepper Herbert Syrup
6 cl White rum
1 cl of lemon juice
4 cl of pineapple juice
Method: Shake & double strain
Serving: High-ball or Tom Collins glass full of ice
Garnish: Thai Basil, slice of pineapple
Lavender & Blueberry
2 cl of Lavender & Blueberry Herbert Syrup
5 cl of gin
Top-up with soda
Serving: Small canning jar (as in the picture) or low ball glass
Garnish: Few blueberries & slice of white grapefruit
All the syrups are sufficiently complex to make tasty alcohol free long drinks in a simple mix with soda.
2 cl of any Herbert syrup topped with soda in an ice filled glass accompanied by a fitting garnish makes an easy non alcoholic flavor packed drink for days when such a thing is called for.
Go get them syrups!