Coconut infused simple syrup?
June 5, 2012 12:34 PM   Subscribe

How can we make coconut infused simple syrup?

I work at a coffee shop in Hawaii. Some of our most popular drinks involve coconut flavoring; we've been making them using Torani's coconut syrup. However, because of our location and travel times, it takes FOREVER to arrive when we order it. It takes several weeks to arrive, and it's really sucky.

The thing is, though, we're working out of HAWAII. There are coconuts everywhere! Is there a way we can make a similar syrup that would be...

1. Shelf stable
2. Flavorful (remember, we're combining it with lattes and mochas)
3. Involving locally produced ingredients? (like coconuts, sugar, etc)
posted by spunweb to Food & Drink (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Simple syrup in general is really easy - take one part water and one part sugar, bring to a boil, and let it cool. You can use a bit less water for a thicker syrup that's also more shelf stable, since it won't have enough water concentration to allow yeast or bacteria to live.

I've made lemon-flavored syrup by dumping a bunch of lemon zest into a fresh batch of syrup while waiting for it to cool, letting it steep like tea, then straining it out. You could do the same with shredded coconut and it would probably turn out great. Try a small batch!
posted by echo target at 12:37 PM on June 5, 2012

Have you tried just adding coconut extract to simple syrup? Alton Brown has a recipe here for making coconut extract. Another recipe is this approach.
posted by mattbucher at 12:38 PM on June 5, 2012 [6 favorites]

I don't think shredded coconut has the same aromatic essence-ish type stuff that lemon zest has. Lemon zest is a specific part of the rind of a citrus fruit, while shredded coconut is the desiccated meat of a drupe.

What about mixing a little coconut oil into the simple syrup? It's the oils from the lemon rind that make lemon zest so aromatic.

Or, if you're willing to be a little less all-natural about things, do supermarkets in Hawaii carry "coconut extract," a la vanilla extract? I swear I've seen it in supermarkets here on the mainland. Because, to be really honest, that Torrini syrup is basically simple syrup with coconut flavoring. The same coconut flavoring that you'd find in an extract in a supermarket aisle, even though that flavoring probably comes from a lab in New Jersey and not a tree in Hawaii.
posted by Sara C. at 12:44 PM on June 5, 2012

You can make coconut syrup using the milk. I've made it from canned milk after falling in love with it on a trip to Maui.
posted by Big_B at 1:07 PM on June 5, 2012

Response by poster: @Big_B -- How specifically? We have tons of milk!

@Sara C. and Mattbucher -- We're definitely thinking about the coconut extract + simple syrup route. We also have tons of coconuts.
posted by spunweb at 1:38 PM on June 5, 2012

I would just use it instead of water in the simple syrup mix. I usually make simple syrup in 2-3 minutes in the microwave in a pyrex measuring cup.
posted by Rubbstone at 3:00 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

I make fruit syrups for raspados by cooking the water, sugar, and fruit together for 20 minutes. 2 cups water, 1-2 cups of sugar (depending on my sweet tooth) and 2 cups of fruit. I mash it with a potato masher periodically while cooking, although I don't know how much that would help with coconut. When it's done cooking, I pour it through a fine mesh strainer and discard the cooked fruit. I don't know if this will work for you, but there's no harm in trying a small batch, now, is there?
posted by azpenguin at 3:55 PM on June 5, 2012

If you want to begin with raw coconut, you can prep it as usual, whir it in a blender with some water, then let it steep in even more water for several hours (4 hours at least, overnight would be better). Strain the solids out with a cheesecloth, mix the liquid with an equal part of sugar, and bring to a low simmer for about 10 minutes so the sugar completely dissolves.
posted by Gilbert at 6:33 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Well I'd say using one of the fresh recipes would be better than what I tried, but it was basically making simple syrup and using the can of coconut milk instead of water and cooking it down. Took forever and the consistency was odd, but the flavor was dead on. Tasted great on banana macadamia nut waffles...

Did you try asking around Hawaii? Seemed like every place that had breakfast in Maui when we were there had it. I never saw it in a store so I assumed everyone was making it.
posted by Big_B at 6:06 AM on June 6, 2012

Response by poster: @Big_B -- the thing is, most recipes we've seen have been for pancake syrup, not the kind you use for flavoring drinks... It's thick! That's okay in something hot, like a latte, where the heat from the espresso and milk will thin it out,* but is less ideal in a cold drink, like an Italian soda. **

*We actually have a really popular maple syrup latte for this reason.

**This is why we don't have a maple syrup Italian soda, lol.
posted by spunweb at 1:05 PM on June 6, 2012

Could you thin it out with water till it reaches the desired consistency, without losing the flavor?
posted by Sara C. at 2:22 PM on June 6, 2012

Response by poster: Maybe -- Or dilute it with simple syrup...
posted by spunweb at 10:15 PM on June 6, 2012

If making it does not work out, there is a also a local company that makes a coconut syrup mix. I have seen it at Don Quijote in Honolulu and you probably can get it elsewhere as well.
posted by cspurrier at 5:37 PM on June 16, 2012

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