Simple syrup is a mixture of granulated white sugar and water. The traditional ratio is one part sugar to one part water, although some cocktail recipes call for a richer solution of two parts sugar. Simple syrup is handy to have around for sweetening everything from coffee, tea, and lemonade to replacing sugar cubes in cocktail recipes.

But the Holidays call for something more. The richer cocktails and flavored teas and coffees need something darker, richer, and spicier. That is why we share with you the recipe for a spiced syrup suited for the season.

This recipe calls for Demerara sugar, not to be confused with ‘brown’ sugar. Demerara is a less processed form of sugar that adds some of the natural caramel notes of the sugar cane (brown sugar is refined sugar with added molasses). This produces a dark syrup, so is appropriate for dark-hued drinks.



  • 1 C Demerara sugar
  • 1C water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ½ vanilla bean (split and seeded)


Place sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Gradually dissolve the sugar and let the mixture begin to simmer. Add the spices and continue to simmer for 10 – 15 minutes. Then remove from heat, cover, and let steep for 1 – 2 hours. When cool, strain out the spices and store the syrup in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Use in place of simple syrup as directed.