Using syrups in cocktails and alcohol-free drinks to counterbalance bitterness is nothing new. And Fig syrup is a beautiful way to do that.
You can make syrup from almost anything. Of course, some things are better suited than others. -A cucumber syrup would neither taste like nor will it have an impressive color. But there are unusual things like Prosecco syrup or syrup made from butterfly pea flowers that will bring some magic color-changing to your drink.
And with this fresh fig syrup, you can bring the rich flavor and color of the delicious purple fruit to your cocktail.
How to make Fig Syrup
Making homemade fig syrup is not overly complicated. However, it takes some time. Apart from figs, you also need demerara sugar, water, lemon juice, and little cinnamon and vanilla.
Demerara sugar is a raw, aromatic, unrefined sugar made from sugar cane with light brown crystals. It can sometimes be hard to get, though. So if you cannot get a hand on demerara, use regular brown sugar instead.
All you have to do is chop up all your fresh figs, mash them slightly, and add them to a saucepan together with all the other ingredients. Heat everything up over medium heat while stirring.
Once your fig-syrup-to-be starts to cook and the sugar dissolves, reduce the heat and close the lid. Let the mix simmer for about 30 minutes and stir occasionally.
Be sure to check the consistency regularly. The longer your fig syrup cooks, the thicker it will get. And it will become thicker even when cooled down. You want it to drip off your spoon easily.
After 30 minutes max., take the saucepan off the heat and let the syrup cool down. Then strain into a bottle - best to have a funnel handy. Now, your fig syrup is ready to be used in your cocktails.
When stored in a fridge, the syrup will last for four weeks. And you can add a splash of Vodka to make your syrup last even longer.
Dried or fresh figs?
You can use either dried figs or fresh fruits. Fresh figs will make for a lighter, less intensely flavored fig syrup. Dried figs, in turn, just like when eating them, will create a very aromatic fig syrup. And the color will also turn out differently.
Fresh figs make a lighter, paler fig syrup, whereas a syrup made with dried figs will be deeper in color. We go with fresh fruits in our recipe because we like that hint of freshness in our syrup.
A short excursion into the world of Figs
The small tree with big leaves and bell-shaped fruits with slightly wrinkled, purplish skin is native to the Mediterranean and Asia. An individual fruit is 1.5 - 2 inches long.
The fruit flesh is beautifully sweet, soft, and reddish-pink. It also contains a large number of crunchy seeds. Figs are a good supplier of vitamins c and b, calcium, iron, and magnesium.
Also: the seeds are the actual fruit. The flesh around them is a so-called syconium. Usually, one only eats the pulp of a fig, but if you want to, the skin is edible, too.
The taste of fresh figs usually is sweet, juicy, and aromatic. However, it largely depends on the time of harvesting as they won't continue to ripen once harvested. If done too early, they will turn out completely bland. If done too late, they will be rotten.
And also, ripe fruits don't last long. Thus, even more reason for me to save them and turn them into delicious fig syrup.
Fig syrup in cocktails
Fig syrup goes well with Vodka. The neutral spirit generally is super easy to pair with other ingredients. So, for instance, you can add a few drops to your next Vodka Martini.
And fig syrup is also a great addition to a Gin and Tonic. Yet, because Gin is relatively mild, you need the right tonic so it doesn't turn out too sweet. If you get that right, you will receive a delightfully pink and aromatic G&T. Here's our recipe: Pink Fig Gin Tonic
And fig syrup also works amazingly well with Whiskey. Because the aged spirit often carries a hint of fruitiness, figs sometimes even being among them, this syrup is perfect.
You could try adding a few drops to a classic Old Fashioned and see how you like that.
- 1 sauce pan
- 1 12oz glass bottle
- 1 Strainer
- 1 funnel
- 5 pcs fresh figs - quartered, stems removed
- 1 ½ cup demerara sugar
- 1 cup water
- ½ tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tbsp lemon juice - freshly squeezed
- 1 tbsp Vodka - optional
- Chop the figs in quarters and remove the stem. Mash them slightly before adding them to a saucepan.
- Now add the remaining ingredients into the saucepan, as well. Turn heat to medium and gently heat and stir the mix.
- When the mix is about to start boiling, reduce heat and keep stirring until sugar completely dissolves and the figs fall apart.
- Let the mixture simmer for 15 to 30 minutes until your fig syrup turns sticky.
- Remove from heat and let the syrup cool down to room temperature. Strain into a bottle and store it in the fridge. Use up within four weeks.
- If you want to extend the shelf life of your syrup beyond four weeks, add a tbs of Vodka.