Add everyone’s favorite holiday flavor to your cocktails, lattes and baked goods with this homemade gingerbread simple syrup! Made with fresh ginger, warm spices, molasses and rich brown sugar, this homemade simple syrup is easy to prepare and has so many uses that you’ll want to add it to all your festive drinks and treats this season.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
If there’s one way I love to create a customized flavor, making an infused simple syrup is it. We can add any fruit, spice or herb to come up with a uniquely flavored syrup to give our cocktails, coffee and desserts a special touch.
During the spring and summer months, I’m especially partial to the strawberry-basil simple syrup found in my strawberry-basil Tom Collins and strawberry-basil limoncello martini, but when the fall and winter hit, we need something warmer with plenty of spice. My pumpkin spice simple syrup, brown sugar-chai simple syrup and spiced cranberry simple syrup are delicious options, and now we’re adding this homemade gingerbread syrup to the list.
Not only is this homemade gingerbread syrup a delicious way to customize your own holiday food and drinks, it also makes a great homemade gift. One of my favorite holiday traditions is to spend a evening whipping up homemade treats, like this maple-bourbon banana bread and vanilla and orange infused bourbon, for family and friends, and this gingerbread syrup is another tasty option. Plus, it’s so quick and easy to make that it really comes in handy for those years you’re short on time.
Let’s get organized and gather our ingredients. Here’s everything we need to make this gingerbread spice syrup.
- Water: This is the base of our ginger-infused simple syrup recipe.
- Dark brown sugar: I prefer dark brown sugar over light brown sugar because it has more molasses for a richer taste, but you can substitute the former if needed.
- Molasses: This is the traditional flavor backbone of gingerbread.
- Fresh ginger: I just adore the flavor fresh ginger adds as opposed to ground. Consider that ginger is our all-star spice here, it’s worth going fresh here. If you need to substitute ground ginger, I'd add to taste, starting with 2 teaspoons and going from there.
- Additional spices: For our supporting cast of spices, we use cinnamon, cloves and allspice.
- Fresh orange zest: With all the rich flavors and warm spice, the fresh zest adds a welcomed brightness.
- Vanilla extract: While we could use a vanilla bean, these days they’re expensive, and it doesn’t look like the price will come down any time soon because of shortages and labor problems. A high-quality vanilla extract works beautifully.
This namesake is true here. Simple syrup is truly simple. Let’s discuss how to make gingerbread syrup, shall we?
We begin by adding the water, dark brown sugar, molasses, ginger, additional spices and fresh orange zest to a small saucepan over medium-high heat. In little time, the mixture wil begin to simmer. At this point, we can start stirring the syrup. We continue to stir periodically to help dissolve the sugar.
Once the mixture comes to a boil, we give it another good stir until the sugar is fully dissolved, and then we turn off the heat, add our vanilla extract and allow the syrup to steep. This gives the ginger plenty of time to infuse its warm flavor. I recommend steeping for at least 15 minutes, though you can even let it sit for up to an hour.
After our gingerbread simple syrup steeps, all that’s left is to strain. Just like that, our simple syrup is ready.
Can You Make Ahead of Time?
Absolutely. Making homemade simple syrup is well-worth the effort because it’s easy and lasts for several weeks. All we have to do is whip up a batch, and we have our gingerbread syrup well before serving, which makes entertaining a breeze. Considering how busy this time of year is, I appreciate anything I can prepare ahead of time.
Uses for Simple Syrup
When my brain hears simple syrup, I automatically think cocktails, and that's exactly why I created this gingerbread old fashioned. Given the amount of cocktail recipes you can find here, that shouldn’t come as a surprise. You'll also love it in my gingerbread mule and gingerbread margarita.
But flavoring and sweetening cocktails aren’t the only use for this gingerbread simple syrup. Here are a few other ways to enjoy it.
- Add to your coffee or tea. I especially love using it to make a gingerbread latte.
- Brush onto cake for both a gingerbread flavor and added moisture.
- Mix into maple syrup or even use as its own breakfast syrup to serve on pancakes or waffles — my gingerbread waffles and buttermilk waffles are both great options.
- Stir into hot chocolate or eggnog.
- Drizzle over a winter fruit salad.
- Spoon over ice cream, like my bourbon-pumpkin ice cream or butterscotch ice cream.
How to Store Homemade Simple Syrup
To keep our holiday simple syrup fresh, we want to store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. As mentioned above, homemade simple syrup lasts for weeks. The sugar acts as a preservative, but this only holds true if stored properly, so make sure you keep it fresh in the refrigerator.
If you’d like to pair this easy gingerbread syrup with your favorite liquor to make a custom cocktail, you have a few options. Bourbon and rum are my favorites, but it’s also great with Irish cream, coffee liqueur or chocolate liqueur.
Once you have your gingerbread cocktail in hand, we also have a few food pairing options. If you decide to go with a bourbon gingerbread cocktail, we want something bold to stand up to our bourbon. My apple cider pot roast and braised apple cider short ribs are both tasty options. For a dessert gingerbread cocktail, however, my fudgy stout brownies, spiced holiday chocolate chip cookies or ginger-maple cookies are perfect.
To add a festive spin to your drinks and baked goods this holiday season, I hope you try this homemade gingerbread simple syrup recipe.
Looking for More Festive Recipes?
- Chai-cranberry smash
- Gingerbread toffee
- Gingerbread pudding
- Sparkling cranberry-ginger margarita
- Gingerbread ice cream
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Gingerbread Simple Syrup
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup fresh ginger peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
- ⅔ cup packed dark brown sugar
- ⅓ cup unsulphured molasses (not the blackstrap variety)
- 1 teaspoon fresh orange zest
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a small saucepan, add the water, ginger, dark brown sugar, molasses, orange zest, cinnamon, cloves and allspice. Stir to combine. Over medium-high heat, bring to a boil. Stir every so often to help dissolve the sugar.
- When the mixture boils and the sugar dissolves, turn off the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Allow to steep for at least 15 minutes.
- Strain the syrup to separate the solids. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several weeks. Enjoy!
- For full tips, please see blog post.
- Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.