Spiced Simple Syrup

Many cocktails call for simple syrup, which is great to keep handy. This recipe is very easy, if you can boil water you can make this, and includes a great spice mix and fresh citrus to bring some bitterness and complex notes that will elevate the most simple drink. If you are in a rush or just do not feel like toasting the spices you can just mix it all and bring to a simmer.

Some cocktail recipes from Christian follow this recipe.

Recipe by Lior Lev Sercarz

Makes about 3 cups

Ingredients & Instructions

the spices
1 nutmeg, cut in half (or broken to big chunks)
2 tsp coriander seed
1 tsp tellicherry black pepper
1 tsp mace blades
1 tsp sichuan pepper
2 tsp fennel seed
5 cardamom pods

1 lemon cut in 6 wedges
1 orange cut in 6 wedges
400 grams (2 cups) granulated sugar
480 grams/ml (2 cups) water

In a sauce pan toast the spices over low heat for about 2 to 3 minutes, just until you smell a pleasant spice scent.

Add the sugar, water and cut citrus. Mix everything well and bring to a simmer over low heat.

Cook for about 5 minutes on low heat, then remove from the heat, cover, and allow to cool. You can strain the syrup at this point and start using it or leave it in the fridge overnight (or longer) with everything in it. You will obtain a stronger and more flavorful syrup this way.

Cocktail Recipes

by Christian Leue

Citrus Cooler (non-alcoholic)

3-4 citrus wedges (lime, lemon, orange, whatever mix you prefer)
1/2-1 ounce spiced simple syrup (depending on how sweet you like it)
a tiny pinch of salt
Soda water

The simple syrup has a richness that lets you make a flavorful beverage without using alcohol. In a collins glass or tumbler muddle the fruit and syrup (using a muddler or the end of a wooden spoon). Add a tiny pinch of salt, a handful of ice, and a few ounces of soda water, stir well to mix, top with more soda, and stir gently once more.

Great with a dash or two of bitters also, which do contain alcohol but supply a negligible percentage in a long drink (less than .05% total).

Spiced Old Fashioned

2 teaspoons spiced simple syrup
1.5 ounces bourbon
Lemon peel for garnish, optionally studded with a clove or a cinnamon bud

In this variant the spiced simple syrup takes the place of bitters and sugar traditionally called for. If you like a bit more bitterness you can always add a dash or two of Angostura.

Add the syrup to a rocks glass and add ice (one large cube is great but use what you have, the idea is for it not to get too dilute too soon). Add the bourbon, give it a a few gentle stirs with a spoon, and garnish with the lemon peel.

A variant for a warm summer day: build the drink in a tumbler or collins glass. Add the strained juice of 1/2 lemon to the ingredients above, stir with ice and a splash of soda water, then add soda water to fill and stir gently again.

Negroni Flip (pictured)

1 ounce campari
1 ounce sweet vermouth (I prefer cocchi torino, nothing too bitter since you have the campari already)
1 ounce dry gin (your favorite)
2 tsp spiced simple syrup
1 whole egg (yes the yolk too)
Orange peel for garnish

The spiced simple syrup lends a round and complex sweetness, and the whole egg makes a drink that is both rich and light. If you’re a negroni fan definitely give this a try.

Build in a shaker over plenty of ice, adding ingredients in the order listed. Shake it until the shaker is ice cold and your arm is tired. Fine strain into a rocks glass or footed tumbler. Garnish with orange peel.

Spicy Margarita

2 ounces blanco tequila
1 ounce fresh lime juice (generally 1 lime will supply this)
1/2-1 ounce spiced simple syrup (depending on how sweet you like it)
Salt mixed with aleppo pepper or Shabazi (or just plain salt if you don’t like heat)

Spiced simple syrup here takes the place of triple sec. This variant on a margarita is clean and light but richly flavored.

Wet the rim of a glass and dip into the salt/aleppo mixture. In a shaker combine the other ingredients with plenty of ice and shake until chilled. Strain into the prepared glass.