Whether it’s best to enjoy your Rebel Yell bourbon straight or in a cocktail is not for us to say. We’re just here to arm you with the recipes. And one building block for just about any mixed drink is the magical potion called simple syrup.
It’s called “simple” because it contains only two elements: sugar and water. In a trick borrowed from the arsenal of the pastry chef, those two ingredients are heated until the sugar dissolves.
But transforming sugar into a liquid state gives a bartender the power to sweeten a drink instantly and seamlessly. The sweetness flows throughout the drink, and there is no sugary residue left at the bottom of the glass.
How to make it
In the classic recipe, you pour equal parts water and sugar in a pan — say 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar — and warm over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. You’ll know it’s done when the edges bubble, and the liquid turns from cloudy to clear.
Let it cool, put in a jar, and that’s your simple syrup. Hey, bartender.
To ramp up your mixology game, try making these flavored syrups, using 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar for each:
Basil. Add 1 cup of washed basil leaves. Bring to gentle boil, then turn off heat and let sit 30 minutes. Strain into jar.
Rosemary habanero. Cut two habanero chilies in half and remove stems. Add one quarter cup of rosemary. Bring to gentle boil, turn off heat, and let sit 20-30 minutes, depending on desired intensity. Strain into jar.
Mint. Add 1 cup of washed mint leaves. Bring to gentle boil, turn off heat, and let steep 30 minutes. Strain into jar.