NEW BEDFORD — After 21 years off the shelf, Silmo Syrup is making a comeback just in time to enjoy the nostalgic taste during the holidays.
“Besides milks, you can put it in frappes, eggnogs, sundaes, a coffee fizz which is soda water and milk, mix it with RumChata, Bailey’s (Irish Cream) or Kalua, you can put it in your hot chocolate,” said Silmo’s new owner, City Council President Ian Abreu.
“You can play around with it and try many different variations of how you want to enjoy your Silmo experience.”
Abreu’s grandfather, Manny Martin, owned Silmo Syrup since 1970, when it was operating on Cove Road. He sold the company in 1989, and the company shut down in 2001.
According to Abreu, Silmo was established in 1932 by a couple of gentlemen with the last names of Silvio and Moraes, which combined to make “Silmo.”
Since the company’s closing, Abreu’s family reclaimed the recipe and rights to distribute.
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“People have had a hankering for it for quite some time,” Abreu said. “People would say to me to bring it back over the last couple of years. As is anything in life, it just wasn’t the right time.”
Now, the time is finally right.
Bringing Silmo Syrup back to New Bedford
In October, Silmo made its debut as the main ingredient in a cocktail served during Chowderfest. The Cocktail Guru Jonathan Pogash worked with Abreu to use it as part of the New Beige Coffee Milk drink. The drink included Blue Chair Bay Mocha Rum Cream, Espresso Vodka, Silmo coffee syrup and fresh nutmeg.
Since the debut, Abreu said they have been operating out of a ghost kitchen at Endzone Restaurant and Bar at 218 Coggeshall St. He is starting to get the product into some local restaurants and hopes to start retailing the product by next year.
“We’re keeping the operation fairly small right now. It’s organic in the sense of its rollout,” he added.
Since Silmo left the shelves, products such as Autocrat, Eclipse, Dave’s and Morning Glory Coffee Syrup have flooded the market. However, Abreu said that what makes Silmo different is that it does not have high fructose corn syrup.
The recipe includes Colombian bean coffee extract combined with pure cane sugar. It does not have that molasses-like texture that people see with other brands. Silmo will also be selling flavors such as chocolate, strawberry, vanilla, almond and piña colada.
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Meanwhile, Abreu has mainly been featuring the product at pop-ups around the city.
“I’m overwhelmingly appreciative of the support I’ve received from the community. We’ve had lines out the doors that every pop-up,” Abreu said. “And everyone has seemed to have enjoyed it.”
During a pop-up at Kilburn Mill, hundreds lined up to taste and purchase the product. There was a similar response at The Vault, during the Holiday Stroll.
On Fri, Dec. 16, Endzone Sports Pub will be hosting a Silmo Syrup Holiday Pop-Up from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. The bar will also feature drink specials using the syrup such as Santa’s Egg Nog, Mrs. Claus Cinnamon Martini and Double Espresso Santa Pick-Me-Up.
Aside from selling the product, he hopes that the pop-ups will also help the businesses.
“I want them to support these businesses while they’re there because they’re supporting me,” he said, adding that The Vault featured espresso cocktails with Silmo’s syrup.
“We’ve got a long way to go, but I’ve taken the chance and I’ve taken the plunge.”
Standard-Times staff writer Seth Chitwood can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on twitter: @ChitwoodReports.Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Standard-Times today.