Mixing it Up with Molasses

Contributed by

Mention molasses and the first thing that comes to mind is gingerbread or ginger snaps. But what about using it to sweeten some fall cocktails? Though classic sweeteners like simple syrup, honey, agave nectar and maple syrup have all been well explored, molasses is relatively uncharted mixological territory.

But the sticky ingredient, a byproduct of the sugar-refining process, has complex notes of acidity, bitterness and sweetness that pair well with brown spirits, baking spices and autumnal fruits such as pomegranate, apple and pear.

There are three grades of molasses, each one possessing its own distinct profile. Mild or light molasses, which comes from the initial boiling of the sugar cane, is the sweetest. The second boiling produces dark molasses, which, while still sweet, has a slight bitterness. Blackstrap molasses, from the third boiling, is the thickest, darkest and most pungent.

I’ve found that the darker the molasses, the more layers of flavor I can incorporate into a drink. In my Boston Spill, a liberal take on the Brandy Alexander, a bit of blackstrap contributes even more richness to the already-decadent cognac, Cointreau, crème de cacao and cream mixture.

For something bright and citrusy, try my Melaza Punch, which calls for añejo tequila, pineapple juice, orange juice and light molasses.

You should also pick up some pomegranate molasses, which is ubiquitous in Middle Eastern cuisine. It may not contain any actual molasses (it’s a syrupy reduction of pomegranate juice), but it’s excellent in tipples that include fruit. In my The Alhambra, its subtle tart-and-sweet-ness mingles perfectly with clementine juice and aromatic spiced rum.

So dig that molasses out of your pantry and start fixing drinks!

The Alhambra

Contributed by Kathy Casey


  • Half a clementine
  • 1.5 oz Chairman’s Reserve Spiced Rum
  • .5 oz Pomegranate molasses
  • Garnish: Orange twist
  • Glass: Coupe

Squeeze the clementine half into a shaker and then drop it in. Add the remaining ingredients and fill with ice. Shake, and strain into a small coupe glass. Garnish with an orange twist.

Boston Spill

Contributed by Kathy Casey


  • 1 oz Rémy Martin VS Cognac
  • .25 oz Cointreau
  • .5 oz Crème de cacao
  • .25 oz Blackstrap molasses syrup (one part blackstrap molasses, one part water)
  • .75 oz Heavy cream
  • Garnish: Freshly grated nutmeg
  • Glass: Martini

Add all the ingredients except the heavy cream to a shaker. Stir, and add the heavy cream. Fill with ice. Shake, and strain into a Martini glass. Garnish with a sprinkle of freshly grated nutmeg.

Melaza Punch

Contributed by Kathy Casey


  • 1.5 oz Milagro Añejo Tequila
  • .75 oz Fresh pineapple juice
  • 1 oz Fresh orange juice
  • .25 oz Light molasses
  • Garnish: Freshly grated cinnamon
  • Glass: Rocks

Add all the ingredients to a shaker. Stir, and fill with ice. Shake, and strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with freshly grated cinnamon.

Kathy Casey is a celebrity chef, mixologist and entertaining expert. Catch her on Kathy Casey’s Liquid Kitchen, on Twitter, on her blog Dishing with Kathy Casey or on her Sips & Apps page on Facebook.

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Discussion (2)

  • Kathy Casey posted 4 years ago

    For the molasses syrup, room temperature or slightly warm water is fine. It incorporates pretty well when mixing together. Thanks for asking! -Kathy

  • Joey posted 4 years ago

    In the Molasses syrup do you need to heat the water to incorporate like in honey syrup?

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