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Best Overall: Amoretti Premium Syrups at Amazon
No matter the drink, Amoretti has an impressive syrup to fit your needs.
Best Flavors: Monin Premium Syrups at Amazon
From unique combinations to tried-and-true favorites, Monin’s flavor range is outstanding.
Best Artisinal: Sonoma Syrup Co. at Amazon
These syrups are ideal for creating high-end drinks.
Best Dessert Flavors: Torani Syrups at Amazon
Torani does a great job of transforming desserts into yummy drink syrups.
Best for Coffee and Lattes: DaVinci Gourmet Syrups at Walmart
Trust your coffee to a syrup company that started up in Seattle’s coffee boom.
Best for Cocktails: Small Hand Foods at Amazon
Small Hands Foods creates essential syrups for recreating classic cocktails.
Best for Homemade Soda: Top Hat Craft Concentrates at Amazon
For a real-deal tonic water or paloma-worthy grapefruit soda, Top Hat is top-notch.
Best Sugar-Free: Jordan's Skinny Syrups at Amazon
Jordan's flavor portfolio is anything but ordinary.
Syrups can be used as a sweetener for all sorts of beverages. They can be used in anything from coffee and homemade sodas to your favorite cocktails or nonalcoholic mixed drinks. While once relegated to standards like chocolate and caramel for flavored lattes, syrups are now produced in a variety of creative flavors, many of which stretch the imagination and open up a new world of drinks to enjoy.
At its most basic, syrup is nothing more than sugar and water. Simple syrup is a staple for bartenders and is (as the name implies) simple to make at home. You can even add flavor, though that’s typically limited to easy infusions like fruits, herbs, and spices. These commercial syrup brands offer convenience and innovative or hard-to-duplicate flavors. They allow you to add a squirt of toasted almond mocha flavor to your morning coffee or create a guava soda without hunting down the exotic fruit. Many companies offer sugar-free, too.
Here, the best syrups for beverages.
Best Overall: Amoretti Premium Syrups
Amoretti has an amazing collection of premium syrups that are perfect for any drink. The brand's dark chocolate is wonderful in coffee drinks, the caramel syrups are great in apple cocktails, and the fruit syrups make fabulous sodas. All of the syrups are designed to react well with other liquids, including milk, without curdling.
The flavor line includes many of the favorites like amaretto, French vanilla, and pomegranate (a substitute for grenadine). Then there are the fun flavors like violet-lavender, elderberry blossom, and zabaione (a delicious Italian custard) and seasonal favorites like pumpkin and apple pie. Sugar-free sweeteners are also available.
Amoretti's product line also includes nonalcoholic syrups designed to taste like certain liquors. This is a great way to transform a boozy drink into something more innocent. These flavors range from tequila and brandy to wine blossom, Irish cream, and blue curaçao.
Best Flavors: Monin Premium Syrups
Monin is a popular brand of syrups that you’ll see quite often in coffee shops. It’s also a favorite for mixed drinks. The flavor line is immense, available all over, and always expanding. Some of the flavors are very fun, including candy corn, cinnamon bun, and hickory smoke.
All of the Monin syrups have a rich, true flavor and are perfect for drink experimentation. You’ll find the usual fruit and candy flavors as well as tantalizing combinations like the South Seas Blend, which includes mango, guava, and ginger. Monin also has a great selection of herbal syrups like elderflower and lemongrass. The brand's spicy syrups are the most impressive. The chipotle-pineapple makes a great mojito, and the habanero-lime adds a nice dimension to a habanero martini.
Best Artisinal: Sonoma Syrup Co.
Just like any other drink ingredient, syrups are turning artisanal. While the smaller companies may not have the expansive flavor lineup, the quality of the syrups is top-notch. Sonoma Syrup Co. is a stand out in this arena. Produced in the wine country of Northern California, these handcrafted syrups are made with pure cane sugar, contain no artificial flavors or preservatives, and are GMO-free. They are ideal for creating high-end drinks.
Sonoma's flavor list includes favorites like hazelnut for coffee, two types of mint for sweet tea, and a lovely lavender that’s amazing in lemonade. The brand's specialty is vanilla bean syrup. You can get the full-flavored version, enjoy just a hint of vanilla in the No. 0 Classic syrup, or go all out with the award-winning anniversary formula. For classic cocktail enthusiasts, Sonoma makes the coveted orgeat syrup, which is the key ingredient for an authentic mai tai.
Best Dessert Flavors: Torani Syrups
Torani is one of the best-known names in flavored syrups, and you can find these almost anywhere. The flavor list is so long and continually evolving, which makes it hard to keep up with it.
With this brand, you’ll find all of the standard syrup flavors, from fruits to nuts and a series of coffeehouse favorites. Where the real fun begins is when you dive into the syrups designed to mimic sweet treats. From a sugar-free chocolate chip cookie dough syrup for milkshakes to a tiramisu that is worthy of cold brew coffee, they’re yummy additions to a variety of drinks.
The gingerbread, toasted marshmallow, and salted caramel syrups add sweet pizzazz to hot cocoa, and the cheesecake and shortbread syrups are brilliant in coffee. If you’re looking to make an effortless pumpkin spice latte come fall, there’s a spiced syrup for that, too.
Best for Coffee and Lattes: DaVinci Gourmet Syrups
Caramel, English toffee, and white chocolate are among the favorites from DaVinci Gourmet Syrups. The company started in Seattle during the coffee shop boom in the late ’80s, and it continues to produce excellent syrups that will enhance the flavor of well-brewed coffee.
These syrups do not contain artificial ingredients and there are sugar-free options. For an outstanding vanilla latte, it’s hard to beat DaVinci’s French vanilla. The Irish cream will sweeten up any coffee perfectly without the booze or cream, while the cinnamon syrup offers the next best option to homemade. When you’re feeling adventurous, there’s cake batter, ginger, and red velvet syrups to sweeten up your espresso.
Best for Cocktails: Small Hand Foods
Created by California bartender Jennifer Colliau, these syrups fill the need for cocktail enthusiasts looking for the finest and often hard-to-find syrups. The syrups contain no corn syrup or artificial colors; they are simple and classic.
Small Hands Foods' product line is compact, though it includes the necessities for classic cocktails, including orgeat and gum (or gomme) syrups and real grenadine made from pomegranate (not the cherry-dyed stuff you find in the average liquor store). The gum syrup does not stand alone, however. The brand also produces a pineapple and a raspberry gum, and both are great. There’s even a passion fruit syrup, which is an excellent alternative to the juice required for the original hurricane cocktail.
Best for Homemade Soda: Top Hat Craft Concentrates
Any of the fruit-flavored syrups can be used for homemade sodas. Simply add soda water such as seltzer or club soda; a good ratio is one part syrup to four or five parts soda. A soda maker will carbonate water and blend it with the syrup.
Beyond fruity sodas, Top Hat Craft Concentrates specializes in high-quality flavored concentrates. Though not brewed in the traditional way, the brand's ginger beer concentrate does an excellent job of replicating the spicy beverage. There’s also a zesty grapefruit concentrate that makes an excellent paloma.
The real find here is Top Hat East India Tonic. Made with cinchona bark, which contains quinine, tonic syrups can be dangerous to make at home. Buying it from a reputable company is necessary. This tonic is flavorful, accenting the dry profile with grapefruit peel, hops, Darjeeling tea, and chamomile, making it an ideal base for a great gin and tonic.
Best Sugar-Free: Jordan’s Skinny Syrups
Traditionally, syrups are made with sugar, so it seems odd to talk about sugar-free syrups but they do exist. For a syrup company that avoids sugar, Jordan’s Skinny Mixes is an excellent choice.
Jordan’s started out with cocktail mixers and have developed a line of flavorful syrups as well. This is no ordinary flavor portfolio, either! Sure, there are standards like salted caramel, butter toffee, and brown sugar cinnamon for coffee and hot cocoa, but what about cotton candy, dragon fruit açai, or glazed donut? To add magic to your drinks, try the "Unicorn Syrup" (frosting, blue raspberry, and cotton candy) or the blue "Mermaid Syrup" (pineapple, coconut, and tropical citrus). Use your imagination and mix them into sodas, lemonades, shakes, and cocktails.
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Colleen Graham is a food and beverage writer with over a decade of experience writing about cocktails, beer, and wine. She is the author of two books—“Rosé Made Me Do It” and “Tequila: Cocktails With a Kick”—and has developed countless drink recipes.