Solid Liquids: Campari Syrup
September 08, 2011
In the last post in the Solid Liquids project, I used dehydrated Campari to make a non-alcoholic Campari & Soda.
Then it occurred to me that for that purpose there was no need to dehydrate the liqueur completely. I could just burn off the alcohol and have a non-alcoholic syrup.
So that's what I did. I filled a pot with Campari and took its temperature with a candy thermometer when heating it. Alcohol boils at 172F as opposed to 212F for water, so I tried to keep the temperature between the two.
It started to bubble around 175 and I could smell alcohol vapor. It began boiling around 183F. When it got to 189F it began to look thicker, as plenty had boiled off.
After an hour total I cooled the liquid to check the volume and found it to be reduced by 50 percent. And since the alcohol content of Campari is 24 percent alcohol hopefully all the booze and some of the water burned off as well.
After cooling and storing it, I made another non-alcoholic Campari & Soda. I added about an ounce of Campari syrup to about 3 ounces of soda water.
It's good, probably better than the powdered liqueur version. But campared with regular Campari & soda, real Campari still tastes better. Again the real deal has more of an orangey flavor, so the non-alcoholic version can use an expressed orange peel added to it.
I'm guessing that the volatile citrus orange (oil?) in Campari burns off in the cooking and that's why it's not present in the syrup/solid version.
So: What else should I use this Campari syrup for?
Update: I just remembered that I saw Campari syrup on the menu at Nightjar in London. I'm not sure if their syrup is the same thing or something else, but it's in two drinks from the summer menu (forgive the funky formatting, it's their font):
bRick lane cocktail
g’vine floRaison gin
dolin dRy veRmouth
fResh squeeZed mandaRin
nut-infused chaiRman’s ReseRve Rum
fResh squeeZed lime
The Solid Liquids Project index is at this link.
Freeze into Campari cube(s) and used in place of some of normal Campari in a Negroni or Agavoni?
Posted by: zach | September 08, 2011 at 10:04 AM
Posted by: Camper English | September 08, 2011 at 11:42 AM
Wasn't sure if the sugar content would allow a solid freeze, but at least with the alcohol stripped it's possible...let me know if you give it a shot.
Posted by: zach | September 08, 2011 at 01:35 PM
Good point about the sugar. I just put some in an ice cube tray and will let you know.
Posted by: Camper English | September 08, 2011 at 01:46 PM
You could also just burn off the alcohol by lighting it on fire while on a stove. When it won't ignite anymore, the alcohol is gone.
Posted by: KT | September 08, 2011 at 02:13 PM
If you try this again, cover it with a lid in the beginning and try a shot of the drippings.
I bet it will be interesting…
Posted by: Tony Harion | September 08, 2011 at 09:06 PM
You can't call it alcohol-free unless you're under a certain percentage. For beer, that is under 0.5% (1 proof). Mixes of two liquids don't boil the same as the individual liquids so there is probably still alcohol in there. Alcohol-light is probably more accurate from a labeling stand point.
Posted by: Frederic | September 09, 2011 at 07:50 AM
Yep, it's nothing I'd serve to an alcoholic just to be safe.
Posted by: Camper English | September 09, 2011 at 08:54 AM
You're right zach- it didn't even remotely begin to freeze.
Posted by: Camper English | September 18, 2011 at 12:00 PM
Frederic is absolutely right. To go with the temperature of ethanol is not really a save bet - in the alcohol - water [-sugar] mixture [Campari} both, water and ethanol are evaporating - alcohol evaporates just more than water. Think about a bathtub: while the water definitely doesn't reach 100 degree centigrade - the boiling point of water, it already evaporates a lot before.
Your assumption is quite a classic one, seen before in the kitchen. Chefs thought due to cooking or flambéing, sauces would lose their alcohol. Nowadays they know more - it is almost impossible [even after several hours cooking] to get rid of all alcohol!
Like said, flambeing is also not a valid procedure [room temperature liquids definitely stop to be flammable below 35% - hot liquids have a slightly lower alcohol flaming point].
The only really working method to make alcohol-free Campari is really to evaporate it completely and reconstitute with water.
Posted by: Dominik MJ | September 19, 2011 at 06:26 PM
You need nitrogen and silicone moulds
Posted by: Lesley Davies | September 11, 2015 at 11:23 PM
I'm way late to the party. But I did the math so figured I should share. If you start with 24% and end up with half the starting volume, then the remaining syrup is only 0.45%. BUT, if you weren't being accurate and say 60% of the original volume remained then the syrup would 2.5%.
*Math based on only water and ethanol boiling off on the assumption that the orange oil or anything else is too minute to matter. And it is ABV dependent and non-linear, say you reduced a 30% liquor by half then the syrup would be 1.57%.
Posted by: jeff royster | October 16, 2020 at 03:28 AM
@Jeff royster - Cool, thanks!
Posted by: Camper English | October 17, 2020 at 01:51 PM