Oakland's NickelDime Dreams Up Three New Cocktail Syrups

The new syrups will contain such intriguing ingredients as cherry, wormwood, coffee, and tea.


Published:

Kristan Lawson

Oakland's own NickelDime Syrups is all set to launch three new cocktail-syrup flavors.

NickelDime's flagship flavor, the ghost-peppery and cardamommy Caged Heat, debuted a few years ago after being developed by co-founder Jared Hirsch, who as the bar manager at Sidebar near Lake Merritt sought a means of crafting consistently spicy cocktails. 

"Now we want to continue the brand," Hirsch said, "and expand the craft-cocktail movement for the home mixologist with more complex flavors, adding a layer of interest far beyond what everyone else out there is doing."

Using all-natural extracts and comprising three ingredients each, as per NickelDime's policy, the shelf-stable new syrups will be Crimson Smoke (containing cranberry, honey, and lapsang souchong tea), Fairy Dust (fennel, anise, and wormwood), and Cherry Bomb (cherry, cacao, and coffee).

"Cherry Bomb has not just that yummy chocolatiness but also bitterness," drawn from double-strength extra-finely-house-ground third-wave coffee beans, Hirsch said.

He and business partner J. Absinthia Vermut envision Crimson Smoke being best used in whiskey cocktails — "but it would also work well with mezcal or smoked scotch, with lime as the citrus," Hirsch said.

Cherry Bomb, he added, would shine in lemony vodka cocktails, while Fairy Dust will maximize gin. 

Fairy Dust's wormwood element is very familiar to Vermut, who has been using it to make absinthe for twenty years; her Absinthia brand organic absinthe can be found at the Chop Bar, Camino, and other local venues.

As for the lapsang souchong in Crimson Smoke, "I love tea. In cocktails, it's an under-used ingredient," Hirsch said. "Lapsang souchong has the smoky quality we wanted — that feeling of Christmas in front of the fireplace when you've just arrived home for the holidays and everyone's still being nice to each other, when the steam from the tea and the sweetness of the cramberry are comforting, yet you're just a little out of your element."

Planning a Kickstarter campaign soon to fund the three new flavors, NickelDime's founders hope they'll be in stores by this fall.

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