Bootblack Brand’s Ginger Cardamom Lime syrup is big on flavor and long on versatility.
Ginger, cardamom, and lime are flavors that traditionally play well together. They also work with a variety of spirits – most notably whiskey, rum, and gin – making Bootblack Brand’s Ginger Cardamom Lime syrup a potentially versatile modifier.
One of three small-batch syrups sold by the Rhode Island–based Bootblack Brand, the Ginger Cardamom Lime syrup is sweet but not cloyingly so. Ginger is the prominent flavor, giving the syrup some bold spicy notes. The cardamom is subtle and complementary, with lime providing an overall citrusy essence.
A host of herbs and spices, including red pepper flakes, star anise, allspice, and fresh rosemary, support the bigger flavors and add a surprising complexity.
Figuring that the folks who made the syrup would know the best way to deploy it, I started with the recipe that appears on the side of the bottle. The 3 Compadres combines bourbon, Fernet-Branca, Bootblack syrup, and two types of bitters.
This is a simple, spirit-forward cocktail, and the syrup sweetens it up while contributing flavors that complement the sweet and spicy notes in the bourbon. The syrup accentuates the minty notes in the Fernet, making this a good cold-weather cocktail.
Recipe (taken from the label):
- 2 ounces bourbon (I used Jim Beam Distiller’s Select, an overproof bourbon)
- ¾ ounce Bootblack syrup
- ½ ounce Fernet-Branca
- 3 dashes orange bitters
- 3 dashes Angostura bitters
- Orange twist
Shake bourbon, syrup, and Fernet with ice. Strain into a double rocks glass over a large ice cube. Float the bitters, and garnish with the twist.
Rum Old Fashioned
The Bootblack syrup truly shines in a rum-based Old Fashioned. My choice of rum was Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva, which is aged for 10 to 12 years and has delicious notes of maple, brown sugar, and toffee.
The syrup complements those flavors and brings something of a tiki essence to the drink. Tiki bitters draw out the spices in both the syrup and the rum.
- 2 ounces Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva (or other aged rum)
- ¼ ounce Bootblack syrup
- 2 dashes tiki bitters (alternatively, Angostura works well)
- Orange twist
Stir rum, syrup, and bitters with ice in a mixing glass. Strain into a double rocks glass over a large ice cube. Express orange oils over drink and rim the glass with the peel.
Sweet, spicy, and complex, Bootblack Brand’s Ginger Cardamom Lime syrup absolutely bursts with flavor. It’s very natural-tasting – nothing about it seems processed or artificial. But the syrup’s biggest strength might be its versatility. It spices up a complex drink, like the 3 Compadres, without stealing the show. It also brings added dimension to a simpler cocktail like an Old Fashioned.
The price might give some people pause. At $20, it sits at the high end of commercial syrups. But so it goes with small-batch products, and that’s what this is – right down to the handwritten batch number on the label. As with any such products, part of what you’re paying for is someone’s passion, ingenuity, and devotion to quality. And for me, that’s usually worth a few extra bucks.
Note: I purchased this product on my own. No one from, or associated with, Bootblack Brand influenced this content.
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