Let's make the most of fig season with this sweet and savory sage-fig cocktail! Featuring a homemade sage simple syrup, fresh figs, orange liqueur, lemon juice and rum, this tasty and oh-so pretty cocktail is the perfect welcome to the fall months. With those rich, warm flavors, you'll want to sip on this autumn cocktail by the fire all season long.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
Enjoy a unique flavor combination: Sure, you've had plenty of strawberry drinks in your time, but how many fig cocktails do you get a chance to sip? A unique craft cocktail always creates a memorable drinking experience and makes your look like a master mixologist. This cocktail is ready to impress.
Shows off the perfect sweet and savory balance: You'll adore how the rich, sweet fig and savory sage flavors complement each other. The sage comes through in an infused simple syrup while we muddle fresh figs to get that signature jammy sweetness. We then finish the drink with a splash of club soda for an effervescent touch to make a perfectly balanced cocktail.
Makes a stunning signature cocktail: With those favorite seasonal flavors and that pretty, head-turning blush pink hue, this is one swoon-worthy drink that deserves top billing on any fall cocktail menu. Wouldn't this make the loveliest Thanksgiving cocktail as you graze on a charcuterie and cheese platter while waiting for the big meal?
Figs: I highly recommend using Black Mission figs, which are bursting with a sweet, honey-like sweetness. Brown Turkey figs are another common type, but they're much milder in flavor. Your drink won't be quite as rich. For best results, go with the Black Mission variety. If you can't find fresh figs at your local grocery store, I have a couple alternatives for you.
White rum: I used white rum to really allow the fig flavor to shine, but I bet a dark rum would also taste wonderful if you'd like to experiment. For a little mixing inspiration, you can check out this list of best rums for cocktails.
Sage simple syrup: As a specialty syrup, we'll need to make this ourselves. This requires fresh sage and equal parts water and white sugar. And please make sure you get fresh sage. Dried sage won't work here.
Orange liqueur: Although you can use any orange liqueur, such as triple sec, I especially love Grand Marnier. This brandy base of this spirit pairs beautifully with the rich figs.
Lemon juice: Make sure you use fresh lemon juice. Bottled juice tastes muddied down. Taking a few seconds to squeeze your own juice makes all the difference.
Step 1: Before starting on the cocktail, we need to prepare our sage simple syrup. To do this, we bring water, sugar and sage to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat (photo 1). Once it boils and the sugar dissolves, we turn off the heat and allow the mixture to steep for 15-30 minutes.
Step 2: Now we add a couple figs with the sage syrup to a cocktail shaker and muddle until the mixture breaks down like so (photo 2).
Step 3: After we muddle the figs, we add the rum, orange liqueur, lemon juice and a handful of ice (photo 3).
Step 4: We pop on the cocktail shaker top and shake well (photo 4). About 15 to 30 seconds works.
Step 5: From here, we strain into an ice-filled cocktail glass (photo 5). I love the rustic look of the pictured glasses, but a rocks or old fashioned glass works beautifully.
Step 6: For our final step, we top our drink with chilled club soda for a bubbly kick, gently stir and sip away (photo 6).
Fresh figs are available for a short stint in June, but the main harvest begins in August and lasts through November. Of course, dried figs are available any time of year.
If you can't find fresh figs at your standard store in season, check Whole Foods, Sprouts or another higher-end grocer. Fresh figs are more of a specialty produce, so not all grocery stores carry them.
Considering the short growing season of figs, you can't always find them fresh. But don't worry. That doesn't mean you can only make this cocktail when you have fresh figs on hand.
For those times, we can instead add a cup of dried figs with the sage, water and sugar to make a homemade fig syrup. Dried figs give a richer, more concentrated flavor. The color won't be the same as pictured, and the flavor will be a bit different, but it's a delicious alternative when you can't get ripe figs.
Another option is to add a couple tablespoons of fig jam with the rum, sage simple syrup and other ingredients and shake as directed. There's no need to muddle when using fig preserves.
For proper storage, keep the simple syrup in a sterile, airtight container in the refrigerator. The sugar acts as a preservative, so it should last a few weeks. Once the syrup turns cloudy, it's time to toss it and make a new batch.
Swap club soda for ginger beer. This adds a nice spice kick, which is always appreciated in those fall months.
Try another spirit. As mentioned, dark rum would make a nice option, and bourbon and figs are wonderful together.
Substitute sage for another herb. For instance, rosemary or thyme make a nice pairing with the fig, or you could even boil the three together in the simple syrup.
Remove excess seeds with double straining: Fig seeds are perfectly fine to consume, and I enjoy them in this drink. But if you're not into seeds, pass this drink through a cocktail fine-mesh strainer twice.
Keep a Hawthorne strainer handy: The built-in cocktail strainer on your shaker might be able to pass through the whole drink, but the fig purée will likely block a lot of the drink from getting into the glass. Besides shorting you from a proper drink, it will mess up the proportions of the cocktail and club soda. A Hawthorne strainer ensures you pour the perfect drink.
Make the sage-infused simple syrup ahead of time: This gives the simple syrup time for the sage to steep for a stronger flavor as well as a chance to cool. Plus, it makes entertaining that much easier.
Use a wooden spoon if no muddler is available: While I definitely recommend buying a muddler if you enjoy making cocktails, a wooden spoon can mash the fruit fine, especially given its soft texture.
Figs are delicious with caramelized onions and blue cheese, and I just happen to have the perfect recipe: caramelized onion polenta with a blue cheese sauce. I love the way fig and the caramelization from the onions mimic each other with their sweet, rich flavors, and the blue cheese offers a salty, briny contrast. This sage-fig cocktail and that caramelized onion polenta were made for each other.
Or maybe you can't get enough figs. In that case, you'll love my baked Brie with fig and Kahlua sauce. This is easily one of my favorite fall appetizers, and the flavors are perfect together.
I hope you put this sage-fig cocktail on your fall menu and take advantage of fig season while it lasts. It's the perfect cocktail for any fall gathering.
Get More Fall Cocktail Recipes
If you love this recipe, please leave a comment with a five-star rating — or simply hit the five-star button in the recipe card. Don't forget to sign up for my newsletter, and you can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and TikTok.
- Small saucepan
- Cocktail shaker
- Citrus juicer
- Jigger or small measuring cup
Sage Simple Syrup
- 3-4 fresh sage sprigs
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup water
- 2 black mission figs halved (see note if fresh figs aren't available for dried fig alternative)
- 1 ounce sage simple syrup
- 2 ounces white rum
- 1 ounce orange liqueur preferably Grand Marnier
- ¾ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Chilled club soda for topping
Sage Simple Syrup
- In a small saucepan, combine sage, water and sugar. Over medium-high heat, bring to a boil. Frequently stir to help dissolve sugar.
- Once the mixture simmers and the sugar dissolves, turn off heat, allow the sage to steep for at least 30 minutes and strain. Chill and store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for several weeks.
- Muddle the figs in a cocktail shaker with the sage simple syrup until they mostly break down.
- Add white rum, orange liqueur, lemon juice and ice to the cocktail shaker.
- Put on the top of the cocktail shaker and shake vigorously for 15 to 30 seconds.
- Strain into ice-filled glasses and top with club soda. Enjoy!
- Figs have a lot of seeds, so if you want a seedless cocktail, strain the cocktail over a cheese cloth-lined fine-mesh sieve or double strain.
- If you can't find fresh figs, you can add a cup of dried figs to the simple syrup with the sage. Dried figs have a richer flavor than fresh figs, but it will still be super tasty and infuse plenty of fig flavor. You can also substitute the muddled fresh figs for 2 tablespoons fig jam.
- Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.