Cranberry Ginger Syrup

Syrups are a great way of adding fun flavors to cocktails, champagne and even sodas. They have a long-running place in cocktail culture and for good reason. Fresh fruits (especially those with short seasons) can be hard to come by, but if you create a syrup with that fruit, you can enjoy it for months to come. 

This simple Cranberry Ginger syrup has Christmas written all over it. Well, not literally. But the taste is certainly perfect for the holidays. Try adding just a touch (1/2 oz) to a glass of bubbles, a little more (1 oz) to sweeten a hot toddy or shake it with tequila, vodka, bourbon or rum for an easy and festive cocktail. 



1 12oz bag fresh cranberries (frozen will do if out of season)

1/2 cup finely-minced fresh ginger, packed tightly

3 cups granulated sugar

3 cups water



Add all ingredients into a heavy bottomed saucepan and place over high heat. Bring to a boil before reducing to a high simmer, stirring as you go. Continue to simmer for 5 minutes so that all cranberries have popped. Be careful to not walk away, as this mixture could boil over a small pot. 

After simmer for 5 minutes, remove from heat, cover and let sit for 30 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh strainer, using the back of a wooden spoon to push all liquid through. 

Bottle the syrup and refrigerate. It will naturally thicken due to the pectin in the cranberries, but give it a quick shake and it's good to go!


Turbinado Simple Syrup

Simple syrup has that name for a reason. It's crazy easy to make, typically a ratio of 1 part sugar to 1 part water. You may see the term "rich" simple syrup, which can be either a 2:1 or 3:1 sugar to water ratio. But regardless of the ratio, most simple syrups are just made with plain white sugar and water, so besides adding sweetness, there's not much else they do for a cocktail. 

That's where this recipe comes in. Turbinado sugar is made from the initial pressing of the sugar cane. Unlike white, processed sugar, it still has impurities (FLAVOR!) left behind. Don't confuse it with brown sugar, which is just white sugar that gets some molasses added to it. Turbinado or demerara sugar have significantly more flavor and are excellent additions to cocktail recipes, adding a touch of complexity in addition to the sweetness.



1 cup turbinado sugar

1 cup water (use filtered or bottled water to avoid adding other flavor)


Put them in a pot, bring it to a boil and let it cool. It will keep for a couple weeks in the fridge.


Cocktail Recipes using Turbinado Simple Syrup:

Homemade Cocktail Cherries

As we have discussed before, we're just a little obsessed with using real cherries (not the bright neon kind) in cocktails. 

While we're a huge fan of Luxardo Maraschino Cherriesand the more affordable Amarena black cherries from Filthy Foods, it's not very hard to make your own. Plus, it will be a hell of a lot cheaper too.

Get out there, get some fresh cherries (while we are still in cherry season) and test your patience waiting two weeks for these to sit in the fridge. If you're like us, you might even want to duct tape the lid closed and write the date on top. Waiting is the hardest part of this simple recipe.



1 pound fresh cherries (sour cherries are ideal)

Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur

4 Tbsp granulated sugar


Wash your cherries. Remove pits with a cherry pitter (do this in a sink to avoid the look of a crime scene of cherry splatter). Pitting is essential in this process. Not only does it remove the pit but, more importantly, creates areas where the liqueur can permeate the inside cherry flesh. 

Toss pitted cherries with sugar and loosely pack them into jars. Fill with Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur. Seal tight and give your jars a good shake. 

Refrigerate for two weeks, shaking every day or two. After two weeks, cherries will be ready to use, but will continue to improve over time. Keep refrigerated when not in use.


Cocktail Recipes Using Cherries:

Passionfruit Syrup

A common ingredient in many tiki drinks, passionfruit syrup is simple to make - once you find the passionfruit purée, that is.

We recently set out on a mission to find passionfruit. And we succeeded - after a few stops. What we discovered is that you can often find it in Hispanic or global markets. Check the freezer section and you'll see that they have froze fruit pulp. In this case it was 100% pure passionfruit puree. Nice. (We found ours at K&S World Market on Nolensville Road)

One thing about passionfruit, is that is not naturally very sweet. In fact, it's sour as hell. To make this syrup, you'll essentially make a simple syrup compounded with the passion fruit purée. Once made, it will keep refrigerated for a couple weeks. If you make a large batch like this, feel free to freeze some of the syrup in ice cube trays so you can thaw out bits at a time when you need it.



2 cups passionfruit purée

3 cups sugar

1 cup water


Bring all ingredients to a boil in a large saucepan and cook until sugar is dissolved. That's it.


Cocktails with Passionfruit Syrup

Cinnamon Syrup

This simple cinnamon syrup is essentially a flavored simple syrup. Once made, it will keep for a few weeks in the refrigerator and is great in tiki drinks as well as fall and winter boozy bourbon and whiskey drinks. It's also fantastic in punches.

Adapted from a recipe from Beachbum Berry's Potions of the Caribbean, this syrup was a common ingredient at the famous Don the Beacomber, labeled simply as "Don's Spices #4" in his original recipe books to keep competitors from copying his recipes. 



3-4 cinnamon sticks

1 cup water

1 cup sugar


To make the syrup, crush the cinnamon sticks and place in a small saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Add the water and sugar and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes before removing from heat and letting sit, covered, for 2 hours. Strain through a coffee filter and refrigerate your syrup between uses.


Cocktail Recipes Using Cinnamon Syrup: