Citrus Syrups: When and How to Use Them

Words by Jane Ryan

Citrus Syrups: When and How to Use Them image 1

We're all about freshly squeezed limes and lemons at Diffords - in fact it would be rare these days to not advocate for fresh juice when making cocktails. However, citrus syrups, from blood orange to mandarin, do have a place in drinks. Here's when to use them, and some tasty recipes to experiment with.

When to Use Citrus Syrups

Whilst the shops sell fruits all year round, mother nature hasn't stopped a little thing called seasonality. So yes, mandarins are always available but they don't always have a ripe and juicy flavour. The same goes for pineapples and passion fruits - two items you might not think of as citrus but which are loaded with acidity and can play that crucial role in a cocktail - think of the French Martini which balances sweet black raspberry liqueur with the acidity of pineapple.

So when fruits are out of season a well-made citrus syrup will often bring more flavour and balance to your drink. Secondly, we often employ citrus syrups to amplify the citrus already in the drink. This reason is the most common - for why add plain syrup when you can introduce even more flavour as the sweetener?

And lastly, the other reason is simply balance. Some delicate drinks can't be loaded up with too much fruit juice otherwise they're get overpowered and lose that elegance of flavour. Below we've some examples to try.

Cocktails Using Citrus Syrups

ency 76 imagePassion Fruit: Passion Fruit Martini
How: Shake ingredients over ice and strain into a chilled coupe glass.
1.5 fresh passion fruits (scoop the pulp out into the base of your shaker)
60ml vodka
15ml Monin Passion Fruit Syrup
We say: Simple but tasty, harnessing the flavour of passion fruit. Here the syrup compliments the acidity the fresh fruit adds and also balances the drink with its sweetness.

ency 56 imageBlood Orange: Blood Orange Margarita
How: Shake ingredients over ice and strain into an ice-filled glass.
45ml Blanco tequila
20ml Monin Blood Orange Syrup
5ml Campari
15ml Blood orange juice
15ml Lime juice
We say: Notes of tequila, bittersweet liqueur, blood orange and lime juice all sit in perfect kilter in this tasty riff on the classic Margarita. Here our blood orange syrup takes the role of triple sec and sugar syrup to introduce the flavour and sweetness in one ingredient that amplifies the fresh juice.

ency 74 imageLemon: Teaquila
How: Shake ingredients over ice and strain into an ice-filled glass.
60ml Black tea (cold)
45ml Blanco tequila
20ml Monin Lemon Tea Syrup
15ml Lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
2 dash Orange bitters (optional)
We say: A long and refreshing boozy iced tea that brings plenty of lemon-freshness.

ency 55 imageMandarin: Mandarin Sour
How: Shake ingredients without ice, add ice and shake again and strain into an ice-filled glass.
30ml London dry gin
30ml Mandarin liqueur
25ml Lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
10ml Monin Tangerine / Mandarine Syrup
15ml Pasteurised egg white
We say: Sour, but with strong mandarin sweetness. The mandarine syrup here adds a fresher fruit flavour than the liqueur, and balances out the large measure of lemon.

ency 80 imagePineapple: Pilar
How: Shake first 5 ingredients with ice and fine strain into chilled glass. TOP with soda.
40ml Light rum
30ml Peach aperitif liqueur
20ml Lime juice (freshly squeezed)
20ml Monin Pineapple Syrup
8 fresh Mint leaves
25 ml Soda (club soda) water
We say: This drink marries two classic cocktails: the ‘Missionary’s Downfall’ and the ‘Airmail,’ to bring together the opposing styles of Tiki and opulent drinks. Here pineapple juice would make a frothy, almost creamy cocktail but using syrup preserves the more delicate Daiquiri-like texture.

ency 87 imageLime Syrup: Key Lime Pie
How: Shake all ingredients with ice and fine strain into chilled, rimmed glass. To make the pie rim, wipe outside edge of rim with cream mix and dip into crunched up Graham Cracker or digestive biscuits.
60ml Vanilla vodka
52.5ml Pineapple juice (fresh pressed)
15 ml Monin Lime Syrup
7.5ml Fresh lime cordial

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