The Syrup Swap That Will Elevate Your Cocktails

The popularity of craft cocktails is surging in bars, speakeasies, and homes across the country. Nostalgic for the elegance and excitement of a time long past, people are embracing the well-crafted cocktail like never before. According to The Apopka Voice, the public is embracing cocktails because both ingredients and pre-made beverages are readily available, and people are drinking more at home. The pandemic gave cocktail enthusiasts time to experiment with drinks. People are creating their own bitters and syrups, transforming classic recipes into something fresh.

Whether it be stimulating aperitifs, soothing digestifs, after-dinner cocktails, or cocktail party drinks, every cocktail recipe is just waiting for an evolution. Experimenting with ingredients opens the world of cocktails to something new, and changing just one ingredient can bring a new depth of flavor and texture to a drink that can be surprising and satisfying.

Beverage and hospitality veteran Megan Coyle recently told InsideHook, "I think complex syrups and exotic fruit juices added to variations on standard cocktails will be de rigueur, especially for the home bartender." Thankfully for the home mixologist, the simple syrup is something that lends itself quite well to substitution.

The secret is in the syrup

Simple syrup is one of the easiest ingredients to swap out. Absolut Vodka reports that the mojito, caipirinha, daiquiri, whiskey (or vodka, amaretto, gin, pisco) sour, Tom Collins, and French 75 all call for a sugary simple syrup. But different syrups impart different flavors. Adding aromatic herbs and spices to create a spiced simple syrup is one way to take your drinks into the autumn season.

Another is to consider syrups made from agave, maple, and sorghum. Of the three, sorghum molasses, made from sorghum grass, is the most potent and robust, bearing a sweet, butternut flavor. It is a secret ingredient used in baking for its lush flavor, says The Kitchn. Sorghum syrup is thick and sticky, so how you blend it is key when using it to transform your cocktails. One trick for using sorghum syrup is to lightly coat the cocktail glass with the syrup before pouring in the blended ingredients.

Sorghum lends itself beautifully to smoky mezcal cocktails, the espresso martini, old fashioneds, mudslides, and Moscow mules by elevating the flavors of the spirits, chocolate or coffee liqueurs, and other ingredients, adding a luxurious, earthy, even smokiness that transforms the drink into something spectacular.