Spice-Infused Simple Syrups

Fall in love with spice-infused simple syrups

Story and Photography by Heather Wibbels


There’s nothing like the light, warming burn of a bourbon cocktail with a long finish to heat up a chilly autumn night, especially when you’re sitting by a roaring fire. Bourbon teems with flavor notes associated with fall: cinnamon, toasted nut, orange, and vanilla. One of the easiest ways to bring out those lush flavors in bourbon cocktails is to infuse syrups with them. And it’s a snap to do at home.

We’ll be using two methods to create the infused syrups. The first is made on the stove, infusing whole spices in a demerara simple syrup; the second, by adding toasted nuts and cinnamon sticks to a jar of maple syrup and letting them mingle for a few days.

Recipes originally featured in the Fall 2021 issue of Bourbon+.



  • 1 cup demerara sugar

  • 1 cup water

  • ¼ cup peeled, minced ginger

  • Peel of one orange (no pith)

  • 3 cinnamon sticks, cracked

  • 4 cloves

  • 1 vanilla bean, split


Combine ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer on medium-low heat for 15 minutes. (Your house will smell like Thanksgiving morning!) Turn off the heat and let steep while it cools. Strain into a clean glass jar and refrigerate. Keeps for at least 4 weeks.

 Note: Dial the spice of the ginger up or down by increasing or decreasing the amount used in the syrup and the length the mixture steeps before straining. If you love a fiery ginger kick, add more ginger and let the mixture cool to room temperature before straining.



  • 1 cup pure maple syrup (barrel-aged, if possible)

  • ¼ cup toasted pecans, roughly chopped

  • 4 cinnamon sticks


Add syrup, pecans, and cinnamon sticks to a small glass jar and let infuse for 48 hours or until the pecan and cinnamon flavors are both very apparent. Strain out the solids and store in a clean glass jar in the fridge. Keeps for at least 4 weeks.

Note: If you’re a cinnamon fiend, leave one stick in the jar in the fridge to continue to infuse. Not a fan of pecans and cinnamon? This technique works with any kind of toasted nut and autumn spice. Toasted hazelnut and vanilla bean make a delectable syrup for fall and winter cocktails.

Michael Eman
Official Contributor
Kevin Gibson is a free-lance writer who writes for numerous publications, including Bourbon+ magazine, Thrillist, and Alcohol Professor.