Following are my recipes for Standard Sugar Syrup and Standard Caramel Syrup. Standard Sugar Syrup and Standard Caramel Syrup are used for making liqueurs. Why do I call it “Standard” syrup? Because when you sweeten your liqueurs, you need a sweetener that is consistent from batch to batch. If your syrup varies in sweetness and viscosity from batch to batch, then your liqueurs will vary in sweetness and viscosity… simple!
Tip: Use a 2 qt Mason Jar for these recipes
Standard sugar syrup must not be confused with "Simple Syrup". It is similar to simple syrup, but is formulated especially for homemade liqueurs, while simple syrup is strictly a bar mixer used for making cocktails and contains more water than Standard Sugar Syrup. Standard Sugar Syrup could also be called "high viscosity sugar syrup". It is intended to be sweeter and more viscous than simple syrup. To make Standard Sugar Syrup, add 3 1/2 cups of distilled water to a one gallon saucepan and heat with medium flame. Gradually add 7 cups of granulated sugar one cup at a time, stirring it with a wooden spoon to dissolve each cup as the sugar is added. Bring to a boil and continue boiling for about 12-15 minutes until you have less than 8 cups of syrup. Remove from flame and pour into a 2 quart Mason jar, then add distilled water to reach 7.5 cups. In a 2 qt. Mason jar, the level will be just at the bottom of the "neck" of the jar – 1/2 cup below the brim (use the photo above as a guide).
Target volume: 7.5 cups of sugar syrup.
Stir thoroughly to homogenize the mixture. Keep lid closed to avoid water evaporation which can lead to crystallization.
Note: If you try to use a 1 to 1 ratio of granulated sugar to finished syrup, then the syrup will crystallize. To permit storage for future use and prevent crystallization, make sure the finished syrup has a little water in it like the recipe above. Boil until volume is (at or) less than target volume, and then add distilled water until target volume is reached.
Put 6 cups of sugar into a large saucepan or boiling pot. On an adjacent burner, heat 6 cups of water in another saucepan. You will need the water to be just under boiling point shortly.
Heat the sugar over a medium flame stirring constantly with a large wooden spoon while the sugar melts. Gradually increase the stirring speed until the sugar changes to a light brown liquid. At this point, the sugar may begin to give off steam but there may still be lumps of unmelted sugar. Turn the flame off so that the sugar will not become overcooked and discolored. Continue stirring until all the sugar is melted.
When all the sugar is melted and the caramel is a golden brown color; GRADUALLY add 6 cups of hot (near boiling) water. You must add the water very very slowly and continue to stir the melted sugar while the water is being added. Care must be taken to:
1. Avoid the pot boiling over and
2. Avoid hot caramel being splattered all over the place and
3. Continue stirring to avoid any premature hardening of the caramel in spots
When all the water has been added, turn the flame back on and let the syrup boil for about 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, pour the liquid into a Mason jar and check the volume.
Target volume: 6 3/4 cups of caramel syrup
Note: Boil until volume is (at or) less than target volume, and then add water until target volume is reached. Stir thoroughly to homogenize the mixture. Keep lid closed to avoid water evaporation which can lead to crystallization.
Note: Color should be fairly dark and viscosity not too thick. Once a standard has been established for color and viscosity, hold to this standard for all batches. Sweetness, color and viscosity should be consistent.