Syrups and Purees – A sticky situation

Featured in the December issue of Australian Bartender magazine

Written by Edward Washington
Cocktail photography by Steve Brown and Rob Palmer

With the mixological potential that a modern day bartender has at their disposal it still doesn’t discount the value of pre-made purees and syrups. If anything, the care and dedication of these producers ensures that all bartenders can have the finest quality products on hand when making drinks.

A while back (March, 2011) Bartender featured a recipe to make your own Orgeat syrup. As appealing as it might be, when you’re five deep and pumping out Mai Tais through summer’s long months having a stock of pre-made orgeat on hand, or a phone call away, is reassuring. So what else does using pre-made syrups and purees offer to a bartender? Chris Patsos from Posi-Pour Wholesalers, distributes the widely known and used Monin syrups, he knows that his products offer a number of distinct advantages. “Our products offer bar staff a higher quality in taste and aroma for their drinks,” he stated when asked about the benefits.


All Day Baby

  • 30ml Les Vergers Boiron strawberry puree
  • 45ml vodka
  • 15ml Mandarin Napoleon
  • 2 dashes Yellow Chartruse
  • 20ml lemon juice

*Shake ingredients and strain into an ice filled rocks glass. Garnish with a wide lemon twist.

Christian Blair Crown & Sceptre, Adelaide

Monin also has bartenders from around the nation produce signature cocktails for their products, which is a great way to showcase their portfolio’s potential. Patsos sees a few favourites amongst the Monin portfolio: “the most popular [from the Monin range] would be caramel, vanilla, hazelnut and chai”. Flavoured syrups are a fantastic tool in any barkeep’s kit and Chris Hysted, from Melbourne institutions Black Pearl and The Attic enjoys what they bring to a drink: “texturally they can be very cool, they deliver creative freedom as well as being useful for balancing drinks.”

For higher-volume venues the luxury of having time to repeatedly mix, make and prepare ‘house-made’ ingredients is often scarce. Jason Williams, Keystone’s group cocktail manager, conceded that while his bar teams do make a lot of their own products: “[they] also use several brands of syrups, purees and preserves [as] sometimes you either can’t make something as good, or it costs too much time and money.”

Les Vergers Boiron has a wide range of prepared fruit and vegetable purees that could suit a range of cocktails – especially the classic Bloody Mary with their 100 per cent tomato puree.It’s all about consistency and quality,” says Matthieu Naudy from Les Vergers Boiron.  “If you do your own purees you are subject to seasonal variation and quality of the raw materials.”

Time efficiency another also a prime reason to use pre-made products. While bespoke creations are the rage having high quality products ready to go is a blessing. “Because I work in a nightclub rather than a bar people are less willing to wait for cocktails so syrups and purees play a big part in making premium cocktails at efficient speed,” says Will Cabantog bar manager at Brisbane’s Eve Nightclub (winner Nightclub of the Year, 2011). “Having these products on hand helps to avoid muddling certain fruits which can take time and sometimes even produce a better flavour.”

Mai Tai

  • 15ml Monin orgeat syrup
  • 45ml Jamaican rum
  • 15ml orange liqueur
  • 30ml lime juice
  • 15ml overproof rum (as float)

*Shake and strain ingredients into a double Old Fashioned glass that’s sporting a couple of large ice chunks. Float a little OP rum and garnish in an extravagant manner.

Adapted from The Essential Ingredient by Dale DeGroff

Even having the one staple product that every bartender needs – sugar syrup – pre-made and delivered to your bar can save you a lot of headaches over those busy weekends. “Good quality syrups are like the black keys on a piano, says Jason Crawley of Crawley’s Bartender Syrups. “They’re 100% mandatory [and] add richness, depth and options to your drinks”.

So, the verdict is in. Pre-made syrups and purees are shaking the stigma and can offer bartenders from around the nation options, ease and consistency when making drinks.

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