I absolutely love the idea of creating new beverages as well as new food dishes. So many fresh, seasonal fruits and herbs can be easily processed into juices or syrups that can be added to cocktails, sodas, lemonades, and iced teas.
I was familiar with breaking down berries into a sauce/syrup from making my blackberry buttercream. Today, when I saw that the raspberries in our local community garden were ripe and going to waste, I spent an extra half hour picking as many as I could easily reach. I was going fast, therefore smooshing many of the berries, so I knew from the start that I would break down the berries into juice or syrup instead of trying to keep them perfectly whole for a dessert. Also, I prefer seedless raspberry anything--removing that annoyance lets you enjoy the berry flavor so much more.
Here's how it went.
1. Take a photo of whole raspberries.
2. Take another one.
3. I did a quick rinse and then put them in a saucepan with just a little water and a couple tablespoons of sugar. (If I were making a more concentrated reduction, I wouldn't add any water.)
4. I cooked them down until they were almost completely liquid, and reduced them for ten minutes or so.
5. I strained out the seeds and pulp. With raspberries, you really have to work the pulp with a spatula to get all possible juice out of them.
6. Look at that beautiful juice! This is just slightly thickened (reduced) juice with about two tablespoons of sugar. To make a thicker syrup, you can reduce for longer and add more sugar. I would use a thicker syrup to add to desserts like cheesecakes, but this time, I want a thin simple syrup that I can add to beverages.
7. Finally, I made a separate, plain simple syrup with equal parts sugar and water. You simply heat gently in a saucepan and stir or swirl occasionally until the sugar is dissolved. Then, I added the raspberry juice to taste...you can make it as sweet or as tart as you want depending on how much you add. I finished it with a squeezed slice of lime for acidity and bottled it up and chilled it. I store my simple syrup in the fridge. Basic simple syrup can last up to a month in the fridge; I'll have to experiment with the fruit addition to see how long it keeps.
Ready to add to a cocktail, soda, lemonade, or iced tea!