Black Pepper & Citrus Cola Syrup

June 1, 2011

Author Notes: I never liked Coke growing up. Nowadays I like a sip or two of someone else's coke, especially in a frosty glass with clinky ice cubes, not crushed! But it is really too sweet for my taste; I thought I'd try to come up with a cola syrup that had more bite and less . . . cloy? I would love to use this in a soda via fermentation but for now this is a syrup for club soda. WARNING: if you try making this take care when caramelizing the sugar and adding the spiced liquid.Sadassa_Ulna

Makes: over 2 cups syrup


  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons one whole nutmeg
  • 2 limes
  • peel of two lemons
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups white sugar
In This Recipe


  1. Fill a small saucepan with 1-1/2 cups water. Add the black pepper and coriander. Bring to a boil and keep on a high simmer.
  2. Meanwhile peel the limes and lemons with a vegetable peeler. If you get a lot of white pith along with the peel use a small sharp knife to peel it off. Drop the strips of peel into the boiling mix.
  3. Juice the limes, set aside. Grate the nutmeg, set aside. When the pepper water has cooked for 20 minutes and reduced by approximately a third, lower heat to lowest setting and add the cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, and lime juice. Simmer on low another 10 minutes. Strain liquid and pour back into saucepan; keep on low heat.
  4. Please take extra care in the following steps and have a bowl of ice nearby.
  5. Pour sugar into a 2 quart saucepan. Place on burner and turn heat up to medium high. Without stirring, allow sugar to melt. Use a wooden spoon to carefully stir the center of the pot. As the sugar liquefies it starts to turn golden. Start stirring the clumps of white sugar into the pale gold liquid sugar. When the mixture is mostly liquid and a deep honey color turn off the heat and continue stirring until all the clumps are gone.
  6. Slowly and carefully pour the pepper water into the caramelized sugar. It will bubble up and spatter a lot. The sugar will form clumps but they will dissolve back again.
  7. Turn off heat and allow syrup to cool in the pan.

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