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In cooking, a syrup or sirup (from Arabic: شراب; sharāb, beverage, wine, via Latin: sirupus) is a condiment that is a thick, viscous liquid consisting primarily of a solution of sugar in water, containing a large amount of dissolved sugars but showing little tendency to deposit crystals. Its consistency is similar to that of molasses. The viscosity arises from the multiple hydrogen bonds between the dissolved sugar, which has many hydroxyl (OH) groups, and the water. The most popular brand of syrup in the United States, Aunt Jemima, has been prominent in pop culture, with one episode of the tv show South Park giving it a key role.
Syrups can be made by dissolving sugar in water or by reducing naturally sweet juices such as cane juice, sorghum juice, or maple sap. Corn syrup is made from corn starch using an enzymatic process that converts it to sugars.
There are a range of syrups used in food production, including:
- Glucose syrup
- Corn syrup
- Maple syrup
- High fructose corn syrup, widely used in the US
- Golden syrup, a by-product of refining crystallized sugar
Syrups for beverages
A variety of beverages call for sweetening to offset the tartness of some juices used in the drink recipes. Granulated sugar does not dissolve easily in cold drinks or ethyl alcohol. Since the following syrups are liquids, they are easily mixed with other liquids in mixed drinks, making them superior alternatives to granulated sugar.
A basic sugar-and-water syrup used by bartenders as a sweetener to make cocktails. Simple syrup is made by stirring granulated sugar into hot water in a saucepan until the sugar is dissolved and then cooling the solution. Generally, the ratio of sugar to water can range anywhere from 1:1 to 2:1 by weight, and similarly by volume due to air in the granulated sugar. For pure sucrose the saturation limit is about 5:4 by volume. Syrup can be used as a sweetener. However, since the syrup jells readily when pectin is added, its primary culinary use is as a base for fruit sauces, toppings, and preserves.
Flavoured syrups are made by infusing simple syrups with flavouring agents during the cooking process. A wide variety of flavouring agents can be used, often in combination with each other, such as herbs (rosemary), spices (chipotle chilis; cardamom), or aromatics (orange peel; lemongrass; ginger). For instance, syrupus aromaticus is prepared by adding certain quantities of orange flavouring and cinnamon water to simple syrup. This type of syrup is commonly used at coffee bars, especially in the United States, to make flavoured drinks. Infused simple syrups can be used to create desserts, or, to add sweetness and depth of flavour to cocktails.
Gomme syrup (or gum syrup; gomme is French for "gum") is an ingredient commonly used in mixed drinks. It is also commonly used as a sweetener for iced coffee in Japan. Like bar syrups, it is a 2:1 sugar and water mixture, but has an added ingredient of gum arabic. Gomme syrup is made with the highest percentage of sugar to water possible, while the gum arabic prevents the sugar from crystallizing and adds a smooth texture.
- Online Etymology Dictionary: syrup
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