I invited a friend over this weekend to make cocktails, and decided I should finally use up the last of a bottle of cachaca I’ve had sitting around for years. I also wanted to cut back the mint I’m growing on my porch, and while I figured I could just throw some in a caipirinha—which would make something like a mojito—I also looked online for other options. The first thing I came across was something called a ginger-mint caipirinha cooler, which was essentially the cocktail I’d been imagining but with the addition of ginger syrup.

It sounded great but didn’t include a recipe for the syrup, so I did another search and came across this recipe from Imbibe. Being my mother’s daughter, I also decided to look up a few more recipes for comparison and discovered endless variations. Some recipes called for peeling the ginger while others left it unpeeled. Some had you simmer the mixture for an hour or more; others called for adding boiling water to the ginger and water and then letting it sit. And the proportions of water to sugar to ginger varied wildly. All of the processes, though, were somewhat similar the one I’d used to make ginger beer last summer (except without the addition of lemon juice and yeast). It seemed like something that would be difficult to screw up too much.