Working as a former pastry chef and now recipe developer, I’ve spent an inordinate amount of my life making sure things aren’t lumpy. As you’d imagine, I’ve learned some tricks along the way. For instance, mixing powdery substances like flour and cocoa powder with more granular ingredients, like salt and sugar, prevents them from clumping once liquid is added.
So when I was tasked with developing the cocktails for Matcha: A Lifestyle Guide, by Jessica Flint and Anna Kavaliunas (Dovetail, $25), I knew I’d have to take this approach to dispersing the notoriously lump-prone green tea powder. Traditionally, Japanese bamboo whisks are used to get rid of lumps in matcha lattes, but who has one of those? Not me.
So I came up with an easier lump-free alternative: a matcha simple syrup. I mix matcha with granulated sugar first to break it up, then I pour in water slowly, stirring constantly, until the syrup is smooth and the sugar dissolves. Aside from preventing the matcha from seizing into small globs, the sugar in the syrup also balances the bitterness of the matcha, so you don’t have to add more sugar or syrup to your cocktail.
Once you make it, keep the syrup refrigerated and use within three days; matcha will start to darken in color and taste more astringent as it sits. Use it to make a Matcha Pimm’s Cup or the Matchahopper, a spin on the mint liqueur cocktail, the Grasshopper, whose sweetness is balanced here with the bitterness of matcha, which also dyes it a more sophisticated shade of green.