Pumpkin spice is out. Banana spice is the future—at least when it comes to crafting standout winter drinks. Riffing on the stalwart flavors of the season—cinnamon, vanilla and citrus—this roster of inventive syrups is inspired by a pan of flambéed bananas foster, a citron-inflected loaf of panettone and a freshly pressed stroopwafel oozing with caramel. These winterized additions to your home bar are a straightforward shortcut that add creativity and complexity to everything from a two-ingredient aperitivo to aged eggnog. Keep them stowed away in your fridge, ready at a moment’s notice for an Old-Fashioned or Gin and Tonic in need of a winter makeover.
Banana isn’t just for tropical-leaning Daiquiris and Pisco Sour riffs. Steeped with mashed roasted banana, this brown sugar-based syrup evokes the deep caramel notes of bananas foster in liquid form with a whiff of warm cinnamon spice. The viscous, salted toffee-like blend is built for darker rum-based drinks or rich eggnogs, although it would also lend a sweeter foil to mildly bitter vermouths.
Inspired by both candied citron and traditional Christmas panettone, this syrup highlights seasonal winter citrus with a touch of aromatic herbs. Zesting the citron directly into the sugar allows the syrup to also capture its fresh and fragrant oils, creating the perfect setting for heartier sprigs of rosemary and thyme. Evocative of biting into a candied citron peel, this syrup with many vodka or gin-based cocktails, and would add refreshing balance to a lower-ABV aperitivo or spritz.
The combination of malt powder, vanilla and honey is reminiscent of Dutch stroopwafel, a warm, wafer-thin sandwich cookie filled with caramel. The inclusion of malt powder evokes the essence of waffles hot off the iron without the heaviness of a cream and butter-based caramel sauce. Include it in your rotation of winterized whiskey and rum-based drinks, or let it pair naturally with eggnog. For a more dessert-leaning option, drizzle some over a Nocino-spiked affogato.