Want to get creative with your cafe menu? Looking to jazz up your at-home coffee experience? Either way, it’s easy to make your own flavored syrups and give your coffee a unique spin.
The wide range of syrups you see at many cafes are all really just sugar and water, infused with various artificial flavors. The benefit of making your own is that you can choose your own high-quality, locally- and sustainably-sourced ingredients to flavor your beverages.
To make a simple syrup, combine equal parts organic sugar and water in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce the heat to low and stir to dissolve the sugar. Then toss in a small amount any of the following (or something else that sounds good to you!):
a whole split and scraped vanilla bean
coarsely chopped raw rhubarb
a handful of fresh herbs: lavender, mint, oregano, rosemary, basil, whatever you have on hand
whole or crushed spices: black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon sticks, etc.
chopped raw or candied ginger
chopped raw turmeric
coarsely chopped fresh or dried fruit
Whatever you decide to add, simply stir into the syrup and simmer until it is aromatic and tastes good to you. The longer you simmer, the syrup will be thicker (as the water evaporates) and the flavor will intensify.
Ideas for incorporating syrups into your coffee:
Iced Lavender Latte
2-3 oz espresso or 4-5 oz of strongly-brewed coffee
4-6 oz of milk
2 T lavender syrup (or more to taste)
Combine in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until condensation forms on the shaker and it is very cold. Strain over fresh ice.
Sparkling Rhubarb Coffee Soda
4-6 oz strongly-brewed cold coffee (cold brew or flash brewed)
2-3 oz club soda
2 T rhubarb syrup
Stir syrup into coffee in a serving glass. Add 3-4 large ice cubes, then top with club soda.
3-4 oz cold brewed coffee
2 oz vodka (optional)
2-3 oz heavy cream
2 T vanilla syrup
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice. Shake until condensation forms on the shaker and it is very cold. Strain over fresh ice, or serve up in a martini glass.
2-3 scoops vanilla ice cream
3-4 oz cold brewed coffee
3-4 oz milk (adjust to your preference of milkshake thickness)
¼ cup peanut butter
2 T maple syrup
2 T cocoa powder or ¼ cup dark chocolate chips
1-2 T oz dark rum (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
Whatever you decide to try, remember: there are no right or wrong recipes! Experiment with flavors and find what you love. And if you’re running a cafe, if you love your special new drink, your customers will love it too.