Five Spice Agave Nectar

Duggan McDonnell, Cantina | San Francisco, CA

The key ingredient in San Francisco bartender Duggan McDonald’s classic West Coast cocktail, the Laughing Buddha.


Yield: 2 cups

  • 8 ounces water
  • 8 ounces agave nectar
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorn
  • 1/2 tablespoon white peppercorn
  • 1 star anise pod
  • 1/2 teaspoon clove (whole)
  • 1/4 inch ginger (diced, fresh)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil.
  2. Add the cinnamon stick, peppercorns, star anise pods, cloves and ginger.
  3. Bring back to a boil and add the salt.
  4. Add agave nectar and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently.
  5. Remove from the heat and let cool.
  6. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  7. Strain the syrup into a glass bottle or jar and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.