Rethinking Syrup: 3 Ways to Revitalize Your Recipes

Tired of the same old beverage recipes? Today, we’re exploring ways to incorporate new flavors and methods into your drink repertoire.


While there’s nothing wrong with a classic simple syrup or vanilla syrup, sometimes the palate calls for more—and that’s why today we’re looking at ways to up your syrup game and revitalize your recipes with different flavors and methods. If you’re currently crafting new menu items and need some inspiration, here are three ways to refresh your approach to all things sweet.

Desnudo Coffee’s Boggy Berry is a latte made with fermented blueberry syrup. Photo courtesy of Desnudo Coffee.

Purée vs. Syrup: Know and Embrace the Difference

Shops use purée and syrup for drinks in similar ways, but there are some notable differences between the two, and each brings its own unique flair and flavor (no pun intended) to café beverages. 

Syrup is made by mixing equal parts sugar and water, resulting in a thin and liquid-like consistency. Purée is made from ingredients (typically fruit) that have been blended into a thick, smooth mixture that resembles more of a paste than a liquid. Because purées typically have little to no added sugar, they’re less sweet than syrup and impart fresher, more fruit-forward flavors. 

If you haven’t tried your hand at incorporating purées into your café drinks, now might be the time! Grab your favorite seasonal fruits and experiment with coffee and tea-based drinks. 

A simple jar of fruit can become much more with the addition of sugar and time. Photo by Debby Hudson via Unsplash.

Try Making a No-Cook Syrup

Ever tried making a syrup without heat? If you’re patient and have some time to experiment, a no-cook syrup yields incredible flavor. 

I first heard of no-cook syrup in the form of blueberry cheong, a syrup that’s popular in Korea. Cheong is made by combining fruit with its equal weight in sugar, adding the two ingredients to a sanitized jar in layers. Then it just needs to sit with a lid on it for a few weeks to a few months—no heat necessary. A beautifully concentrated sweetener is the end result. The best part is that you can make no-cook syrups with a lot of different types of fruit, allowing ample room for experimentation.

Desnudo Coffee’s iced shoyu butterscotch latte, topped with an Amarena wild cherry, brings umami goodness to a sweet seasonal favorite. Photo courtesy of Desnudo Coffee.

Rethink Seasonal Favorites

As the holidays draw closer, the typical crowd favorites like mochas and pumpkin spice lattes come to mind. But there are ways to add a level of surprise and excitement to these seasonal go-tos. 

One way to add some intrigue to your beverage is to incorporate a salty or savory element: think cayenne mochas or salted caramel lattes. Austin, Texas-based Desnudo Coffee, for example, offers a shoyu butterscotch latte: an umami-packed re-imagination of a typically sweet drink. 

As you craft new recipes for your café, don’t be afraid to veer away from traditional methods of syrup-making. With a little experimentation, you’ll have an exciting new lineup of syrups in no time.


Emily Joy Meneses (she/they) is a writer and musician based in Los Angeles. Her hobbies include foraging, cortados, vintage synths, and connecting with her Filipino roots through music, art, food, and beverage.


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