Small Hand Foods' Jennifer Colliau is an invaluable resource for the most dedicated bartenders in the Bay Area.
Now, Colliau is taking some of her impeccable syrups and extracts to a broader audience.
Colliau's foray into producing pre-Prohibition cocktail ingredients began when she was working at The Slanted Door in San Francisco. Tired of making mai tais without the traditional orgeat, she fiddled and fussed until she struck on her ideal recipe, a heady extract redolent of sweet and bitter almond flavor. As word spread locally, Colliau found herself producing larger batches--and other syrups.
Now, Small Hand Foods' products are available for online orders. The first is gum syrup (aka "gomme syrup"), a sweetener from the turn of the 20th century thickened with gum Arabic. In keeping with her purist bent, Colliau often uses gum syrup to make an Old Fashioned--otherwise known as a Whiskey Cocktail (click here to download the recipe)--to give it an extra-silky texture.
She also spikes two gums with separate infusions of organic pineapple and organic raspberries, and her fresh-tasting grenadine teems with pure, bright pomegranate flavor.
Colliau is always experimenting: At the moment, she's perfecting her cream of coconut and passion fruit syrup. Such admirable obsessiveness is a delicious boon for cocktail lovers.