That's why I'm so interested in experimenting more with flavored syrups. I think you can add a totally new dimension without reinventing the wheel. So your old fashioned includes simple syrup- why not try a brown sugar simple syrup and see what happens? It's a safe way to explore, since the change is slight, but noticeable.
|mint simple syrup|
Your basic simple syrup is equal parts water and sugar, shaken or stirred on medium heat until dissolved You can cook it down a bit (but not to the point of caramel like I've been known to do) for a richer syrup. Like I mentioned above, you can make this with brown sugar or cane sugar as well for a slight differentiation. I read you can add a smidge of vodka to help it last longer, since you really should only keep this for a few weeks in the fridge.
|lemon zest simple syrup|
I'm interested in trying a chipotle-orange syrup (add 1 chipotle and a few strips of orange peel to boiling water, let simmer for 15 minutes, strain and add the sugar) that would be good with anything whiskey based. I LOVE cardamom and lavender, both of which would make excellent simple syrups. Most herbal syrups are made the same way: place the herb or spice in the water, boil the water, add the sugar, stir to dissolve, remove from heat, cover, let cool, strain, store in fridge. Too easy!
|vanilla spice simple syrup|
Like fruits? I really like this article on making shrubs (sugar+fruit+an acid). Typically you make shrubs similarly to the methods above, but this article describes a way to cold-brew your shrubs, which apparently makes the fruit flavor brighter and fresher, though it takes more time. Basically, you mix equal parts sugar and fruit in a bowl, and let it sit in the fridge for a few days. The sugar pulls juices out of the fruit, and you mix that strained liquid with vinegar. Voila.
|berry simple syrup|
Try these in iced tea or seltzers as well for all you teetotalers out there. What has your experience been with simple syrups?