Fall is in full swing and it’s time to spice up that basic simple syrup with all the flavors of the season! This quick and easy recipe uses whole spices and an orange peel for maximum flavor.
Simple syrup is one of the easiest things to whip up at home, and it’s also very easy to make it your own by adding fruit, herbs, spices, or even teas. Learn all about the basic two ingredient recipe and many other variations in my Complete Guide to Simple Syrup.
Ingredients in spiced simple syrup
You need just five ingredients (plus water) to make this spiced syrup. It comes together quickly and doesn’t require a lot of time on the stove. Note that you’ll want to use whole spices. This will lend the best flavor and make straining the syrup super easy. Let’s dive into the ingredients you’ll need to make it:
Demerara or turbinado sugar
While you can use white or brown sugar in this recipe, I recommend using the less processed and very flavorful demerara sugar. Demerara simple syrup is a great way to jazz up your cocktails, coffees, and tea with its notes of toffee and caramel.
Turbinado sugar is another good raw sugar option, but it’s not as flavorful as demerara. If you really want to go all out, use the minimally-processed, richly flavored muscovado sugar! Muscovado sugar has more molasses than demerara or turbinado sugars.
Cinnamon adds that perfect holiday spiced flavor to so many favorite recipes, from apple pie to snickerdoodle cookies or crumbly coffee cake, oatmeal, and of course, ooey, gooey cinnamon rolls. We’ll use whole cinnamon sticks for this recipe and let them simmer for about 10 minutes to release their flavor.
Note that you can use “real” cinnamon (ceylon cinnamon) or what’s sometimes referred to as “fake” cinnamon (cassia). Both of these trees are in the same family, and have a similar flavor, although true cinnamon is less strong-tasting and a little more sweet.
Cardamom is a wonderful spice that’s used in recipes from India and the Middle East all the way to Scandinavia. Cardamom is one of the key spices used in the beloved chai tea. It lends dishes both sweet and savory a unique flavor that has a subtle citrusy note.
Allspice is a berry that grows on the Jamaican pimenta tree. They are also referred to as pimento berries. These small berries are dried and have a flavor that resembles a mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
It’s a potent, pungent spice, so a little goes a long way. Pimento dram or allspice dram is a popular liqueur flavored with allspice.
Don’t skip this ingredient! Use a vegetable peeler or a sharp knife to remove a swath of orange peel. Trim any excess white pith. A little pith is ok, but too much can add bitterness.
The oils from this orange peel will brighten and balance the spices in the syrup. Orange oils are an excellent flavor enhancer, especially flavors that are deep, rich, strong, very sweet or very spicy.
The secret to developing a rich, deep flavor
No need to simmer this syrup for ages. This syrup comes together very quickly and it really only needs about five to ten minutes of cook time.
The key to achieving a great depth of flavor is to allow the syrup to cool before straining out any solids. The cooling time allows the spices to infuse for longer without any water cooking off (which will increase how sweet the syrup is and throw off the balance.
Simple steps to make the syrup
Add equal measures of water and sugar to a small saucepan. Add your spices and place the pan over medium heat.
Stir frequently to dissolve all of the sugar, then bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat and allow the syrup to simmer for 5-10 minutes, or until flavorful.
Remove the saucepan from the heat, cover, and let cool fully. Once cooled, strain out the solids and store the syrup in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Ways to use this flavorful syrup
Spiced simple syrup is an easy way to add all of these comforting baking spice flavors to drinks both hot and cold. It’s also excellent in oatmeal, yogurt, on pancakes, or used to moisten layer cakes in place of plain simple syrup. Here are some of the many ways to enjoy spiced simple syrup:
Holiday spiced coffee
Add 2 tablespoons of this spiced syrup to your morning coffee for a delicious, cozy treat. A splash of milk or cream makes it even better. Don’t forget the whipped cream!
Spiced hot cocoa
Replace the sugar in this hot cocoa for one recipe with 2-3 tablespoons of spiced simple syrup. Top with fresh whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon or freshly grated nutmeg. I love my nutmeg grinder from Peugeot Saveurs.
Add to hot or iced teas
This syrup is excellent to sweeten many teas, from basic Lipton iced tea to English Breakfast, Earl Grey, honeybush, rooibos, or ginger tea.
Use it to sweeten overnight oats
This syrup is the perfect way to spice up basic overnight oats. Replace the maple syrup with 1-2 tablespoons of spiced simple syrup. When serving, top with nuts and fresh fruit.
Swirl it into yogurt
If you think honey is a great addition to yogurt, this syrup is even better! I like to swirl it into vanilla Greek yogurt. It’s also great in blueberry, cherry, or blackberry yogurt.
Use in place of maple syrup on waffles and pancakes
The baking spice flavors in this syrup are a dream on pancakes and waffles. It’s even better topped with a dollop of fresh whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
Make a cocktail
Try my Spiced Old Fashioned or add an ounce to your next Hot Toddy!
You may also enjoy these other cozy fall and winter-inspired recipes:
Spiced Simple Syrup Recipe
- 1 Small saucepan
- 1 cup demerara sugar (or turbinado, muscovado, or brown sugar)
- 1 cup water
- 1-2 cinnamon sticks, broken into smaller pieces
- 4 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
- 3 allspice berries
- 1 orange peel 2-4" in length
- Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and set the heat to medium.
- Stir frequently until all of the sugar has dissolved, then bring the liquid to a boil.
- Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer the mixture for 5-10 minutes, or until flavorful.
- Remove the pan from the heat and allow the liquid to cool completely before removing the solids.
- Store the spiced simple syrup in a closed container (like a glass bottle) in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.