Carrot Leaf Syrup
Carrots become increasingly more utilized in cocktails because of their sweet and earthy flavors that seem to work perfectly with secondary flavors like ginger, lemon, and honey. This makes them a very versatile ingredient to have behind the bar, especially when there isn’t much fruit available during the winter season!
What’s even better is that each carrot has plenty of parsley-like looking leaves attached to them which are packed with flavor that can be used for food or drinks!
Some chefs use carrot leaves for certain dishes like pesto, but bartenders can use them to substitute actual carrot flavors for cocktails!
Carrot leaf tastes like a cross between carrots and parsley, making them a similar yet unique ingredient for your cocktails.
You will also be able to play with its bright green vibrant color, which sets it apart from other drinks. Because the leaves are very flavorful, you only need a small amount for each cocktail.
So, the question you should be asking yourself is…if chefs use them in cooking, why can’t bartenders?
The first step (blanching) is important for achieving a fresher flavor and brighter color for your syrup.
Start by setting aside a pot of hot water as well as a bowl filled with ice water.
Dunk your carrot leaves into the pot of boiling water for 30 seconds, and quickly transfer them to the bowl of ice water to cool down (using a pair of tongues will help with the process).
This will help the leaves retain their color which will make your syrup brighter. It will also give a crisper flavor of fresh parsley to your drinks! Once they’ve been sitting in the ice bath for 5 minutes, remove them and hand squeeze them to remove any excess water.
Get a blender and measure out the following ingredients.
For every gram of carrot leaf, combine 150g of water and 150g of caster sugar.
(note that I’m weighing the carrot leaves after they’ve been soaked).
If you want to make your syrup more carrot flavored, just add more of the leaves.
You can choose to blend the carrot leaves with both the sugar and water or just with the water. (I like to blend it with just water so that the leftover leaves are not sweet and can still be used for pesto’s etc)
Once you’ve added the water and carrot leaf to the blender, turn it on and let everything blend until the leaves are finely chopped and the syrup has turned a dark shade of green.
The process of blending should last no more than 1 minute and a half.
Strain, Bottle, and Use
Once everything has blended, make sure to have a fine mesh filter on top of a container to separate the solids from the liquid.
Retrieve your carrot leaf water, and add an equal amount of sugar to it. Stir it well and let the sugar dissolve at room temperature.
Based on the color of your syrup you will know how much flavor it will have! If you’re not satisfied with the color or taste you can always blend it with more sugar, water, or carrot leaves.
Now you have a banging syrup that took hardly any effort to make and which can be used for a wide variety of twists and classic cocktails.
This cross of flavors between carrots and parsley generally works well with clear spirits. Give it a go with Vodka, Gin, Light Rum, Tequila Plata, and Cachaca, but don’t be afraid to push beyond the limits!
Classic cocktails that will work with Carrot Leaf Syrup:
(always be sure to substitute the simple syrups in the following cocktails)
– Gimlet, Margarits, Pisco Sour, Daiquiri, Mojito, Last Word, Southside, French 75, Caipirinha…you get the idea!
A Note on 'Cross-Pollination
Kitchens are always stocked up with carrots, so if you work in a bar that has a kitchen, be sure to exchange ingredients and leftovers between each other.
Carrot leaves can be used by both bar and kitchen, and in the case of actual carrots, a bartender can juice them and save the pulp for chefs to use in stocks, sauces, etc.
This is an example of what’s called ‘cross-pollination,’ which is an exchange between FOH (front of house) and BOH (back of house) resources. ‘Cross-pollination’ can help venues save and make money while also keeping the environment cleaner and greener. Encourage these practices at your venue, and make sure that you can lend a hand to reuse what would otherwise get thrown out in the kitchen or bar.
As you’ve seen, some of the ingredients that get trashed can make great drinks and give you more bang for your buck!
Carrot Leaf Daiquiri
- 60ml Light Rum
- 30ml Lime Juice
- 20ml Carrot Leaf Syrup
Shake & Strain
Garnish with a charred carrot.
Like a regular daiquiri with an added fresh taste and an uplifting grassy note!