Tuesday, July 14

Simple Syrup is People! Uh, I Mean. . .Important

Perhaps you've noticed my month-long absence (say you noticed). Unfortunately, the last few weeks, I've been trapped in what I like to call "The Clima Oaxaca Vortex." This isn't at the hands of an evil supervillain (Though I like to think what that would be. Probably, my supervillain arch nemesis would be that tuna with sunglasses, a cereal personality, or whatever the putrid-embodiment of Applebee's would be, but I digress). Rather than any of these loathed enemies entrapping me, it has been Oaxaca's rainy season.

It has thrown things out of balance. Or it has thrown me and you (my faceless midwest minions) out of balance. The cold and the rain has me eating potato soup and a crockpotless version of crock-pot meat. Not menus exactly fit for my giant mid-western fan-base (I'm not calling you fat, I'm just exaggerating my popularity) suffering the mugginess of middle America's Junes and Julys. If I were living in Iowa in July and someone suggested I make a creamy potato soup I would be inclined to throw bricks at them.

To avoid such a painful calamity, I've come upon the means to resolving our differences. Of course, it's a beverage. But unlike most unifying, friend-making beverages, this one doesn't have alcohol.

It all began while I was mulling over simple syrup last Wednesday at dinner. Three memories came to mind: the worst dirty martini I've ever tasted, my dad cleaning, and the many times that I have cut corners.

The worst dirty martini experience occurred my senior year of college--my friends and I held "fake prom" in the spring of our junior and senior years. This entailed all the things that high school prom did--dressing up, going to a nice dinner, and dancing to cheesy music.

During the dinner portion of our evening, my younger brother ordered a dirty martini. Shortly after getting it, he sent it back. When he tried the next one, he had a confused and slightly disgusted look on his face. Thinking he was a novice dirty martini drinker, I figured I'd take it off his hands and get an extra drink. But it was wrong. It had a bland sickly sweet flavor with the normal touch of olive saltiness--it was like a flat olive soda--so once again, ignoring the "just chug it" advice of friends, the waiter was summoned and made to understand that something was amiss. It was then discovered that an old Absolut bottle was being used for simple syrup storage. In case you were wondering, simple syrup, vermouth, and olive juice is not delicious.

The second memory is not actually related to simple syrup in any way. But the "simple" portion reminded me of when my dad would clean using a product called Simple Green. It wasn't just the name that I remembered, but a whole "Simple Green is people!!!!!" production that put Charlton Heston to shame. Calm yourselves, dears, the recipe I'm building up to has no human ingredients.

I may have explained away any raised eyebrows over my first two associations (or raised more eyebrows with the fake proms and cleaning-inspired thespian father), but allow me to rationalize the pondering of things like simple syrup. More in depth than the explanation that I just truly enjoy thinking about minute food related things.

I mentioned that it was at dinner the other night, at Miahuatlán's finest establishment,Haciendita, that I was mulling over simple syrup. I was drinking a naranjada, a drink made from simple syrup, freshly-squeezed orange juice, and sparkling water--kind of like a sparkling orangeade. There is also a limonada which is the lime counterpart and definitely the jefe de jefes of drinks I've had in Mexico.

The restaurant I was at, has exceptional versions of both. I've made limonadas many times myself, but they pale in comparison to those at Haciendita. While enjoying this naranjada, I realized the weak pallor of my beverages lies in my circumvention of simple syrup. Which is foolish, because simple syrup is only equal parts water and sugar, boiled gently and cooled. It's SIMPLE! You can even store it for several weeks, preferably not in an old, unmarked, vodka bottle or something sinister that makes you feel like you're devouring humans in a futuristic distopia.

To help sustain vitality in the most sticky or rainy of months, I present: Limonada.
alter amounts to make deliciously refreshing beverage to your sweet-sour-bubbly preference.

simple syrup
fresh-squeezed lime juice or orange juice for a naranjada
sparkling water

For the simple syrup: 1 C sugar, 1 C water--put 'em in a small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Let cool. Store in the fridge.

Put desired amounts of simple syrup and lime juice in a tall glass and mix well. Fill glass with ice and top with sparkling water. Tah-dah!!! Enjoy.


  1. This giant mid-western minion noticed your absence!

    Will give simple syrup in drinks a second change -- its usage in mojitos had completely turned me from it!

  2. Thanks Leah! But am I to understand that you don't like mojitos? We might have to do something about that shortly.

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  4. I can overlook ONE reference to your "Mid-western" readers, but TWO?!!?? In a single blog post??!! Please don't forget your fans in other parts of the US, who may be lesser in number (and might not read posts in as timely a manner as they once did, blame Frijolito for that!!), but are nonetheless avidly following your exploits.

    Oh, how I miss limonadas at La Haciendita!! Put that on my definite "To Do" list for when I visit in October... I miss you!

  5. Oh no, i LOVE mojitos! However, some bars are lazy and don't muddle the mint with sugar and just use simple syrup, and it just isn't the same... :( Never to worry, I now own my own muddler and have a pot of mint on the deck!

  6. Aaah Good. I was worried, but now I realize (as I should've all along) that you are simply a gourmand among lushes.