12 Days of Local Christmas: Small Hand Foods

Small Hand Foods
Small Hand Foods

Yesterday, I posted locally distilled spirits from St George Spirits in Alameda. A perfect accompaniment, especially if you plan on making cocktails, are the syrups from Small Hand Foods. In fact, when Genie from The Inadvertant Gardener was recommending St George, she suggested Small Hand Foods syrups in the same tweet.

Created by Jennifer Colliau, a San Francisco bartender, the syrups are her way of supporting cocktail-making bartenders with high quality, locally produced ingredients. Jennifer’s Small Hand Bartender blog outlines her process (fascinating for anyone thinking of starting a small artisan-food business) and gives a peek into the genesis of the business. Her Pineapple Gum Syrup starts with organic Pineapples from Berkeley Bowl!

Since I am not that familiar with using syrups in my cocktails, I bought a couple for us to try – the basic Gum Syrup as well as Pineapple Gum Syrup. I found both at Cask in San Francisco, and the salesperson suggested that Gum Syrup can be used in any cocktail that calls for simple syrup. The addition of gum arabic gives a higher viscosity and fuller mouth-feel to the cocktail. The other one that looked interesting is the Grenadine Syrup, made from organic pomegranate juice. Boy, would that elevate the ubiquitous Shirley Temple.

I bought the Pineapple Gum Syrup so I could recreate this San Francisco classic at home:

Pisco Punch
Duncan Nichol, San Francisco, 1893

2 oz Pisco
¾ oz fresh lemon juice
¾ oz pineapple gum syrup

Shake all ingredients vigorously in mixing tins, then strain into a chilled coupe glass.