One of my favorite things about working at a bookstore with a tea room is the free stuff I get due to "expiration." Expiration is a myth perpetuated by the food industry in order to get the public to buy more stuff. The best way to judge whether or not food is expired is to check for mold, discoloration, or a bad smell. If you detect none of these things, chances are good that your food is just fine. A magic number printed on the package is the worst indication of food spoilage that I have ever seen.
Anyway, moving along. The expiration date on products works in my favor because it means I get to take home perfectly good food and drinks that I don't have to pay for. Yay for scrounging! Today's find: flavored syrups.
The obvious thing for me to do with flavored syrups is to make Italian sodas by mixing syrup with tonic water. I don't have tonic water, though, and I didn't really want to buy any, so I just brought the caramel and sugar free vanilla syrups to Game Night to see what people came up with.
The first - and my favorite - suggestion was to add the caramel syrup to hot chocolate. Oh man. Best hot chocolate I have ever made at home. (It wasn't my home, but it was still a home, so it counts.) No one had brought pop for dinner, so a few people ran out and bought some 2 liters to go with the syrup. People started mixing vanilla colas and vanilla with root beer for homemade cream sodas. I did not try this, but the reports were favorable.
The next week, I brought the vanilla again, but instead of caramel, I brought cherry syrup. (I would honestly just do shots of the cherry syrup by itself. *cough*) This time I made cherry Pepsis, which were so delicious, and my boyfriend Greg mixed the vanilla with orange pop. He said it tasted very much like an orange creamsicle.
I have yet to mix the syrups with alcohol, but this seems like another natural combination to me. I fully intend to mix the other syrups with hot chocolate, as well. I think the cherry syrup in hot chocolate would be especially delightful. I used to have them make this for me at Denny's when I was in college by adding a shot of Grenadine (which is technically pomegranate flavoring, not cherry).
The other flavors I have are blueberry, blackberry, and some others that I can't think of because I am tired. Blackberry hot chocolate might be interesting. I actually don't think blueberry hot chocolate would taste very good, but I am willing to give it a shot. It would probably taste pretty good with vodka, however, or maybe chilled sake.
All right, I am sleepy, and I think it is time to rest for the night. Happy Hanukkah, everybody!