Cola Syrup

Photographer: Adam
Makes approx 500ml

Less sweet and more spiced than commercial cola, there is real depth to the flavour of this syrup – it makes the perfect base for a mocktail. Pour over crushed ice, add a couple of very finely sliced rounds of fresh orange and lemon, and top with soda water (novelty umbrella optional). It is so refreshing, all natural and caffeine-free!


1 cinnamon stick
2 whole star anise, broken
1/3 whole nutmeg, finely grated
3cm piece ginger, minced
1 vanilla pod, split
Zest 2 oranges
Zest 1 lemon
Zest 1 lime
¼ tsp citric acid
1 tsp dried lavender flowers
2 cups water

2 tbsp honey
1 ½ cups brown sugar
1 cup water


1. Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan and gently bring to the boil over a medium heat. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
2. Remove from heat and strain through a muslin-lined sieve into a jug. Bundle up the fabric and press to squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids.

1. Place sugar in the centre of a small saucepan. Add honey and pour the water around the outside of the sugar.
2. Heat gently until sugar has dissolved, gently stirring with a wooden spoon. Once the mixture starts to simmer remove the spoon and don’t stir again. Watch for sugar crystals on the side of the pan and if you see some gently wash them down with a wet pastry brush.
3. Once the caramel is a deep amber colour, remove from heat and add to the infusion liquid from above. Stir to combine, and then pour into a sterilized bottle. Leave to cool before serving.
To serve, dilute to taste with soda water.