Nickel Dime is based in Oakland, California, where it makes a collection of four cocktail syrups designed for home cocktailing. Created by bartender Jared Hirsch and entrepreneur Absinthia Vermut, the four-pack’s centerpiece is called Caged Heat, one of Hirsch’s most well-known cocktails.
The syrups are made from natural ingredients. Consumers are directed to mix 1 oz of mixer with 2 oz of spirit and 1 oz of lemon or lime juice. We sampled the entire Nickel Dime Cocktail Syrup portfolio. Thoughts follow.
Nickel Dime Caged Heat Cocktail Syrup – Made with Tamarind, Cardamom, and Ghost Pepper. Mix with bourbon and lemon. This cocktail’s a dazzler that has rightfully earned its praise. On its own the ghost pepper is overwhelming, but when mixed according to specifications, the tamarind really comes into its own, tempering the heat just enough with its exotic sweetness. A delight that recalls Asia and the dirty South in equal proportions. A
Nickel Dime Fairy Dust Cocktail Syrup – Made with Fennel, Anise, & Wormwood. Mix with gin and lemon. If I’m drinking absinthe, I’m drinking absinthe. This cocktail, when prepared with gin and lemon, feels a bit like I’m cheating, dripping with the trappings of absinthe without as much of the magic. B-
Nickel Dime Cherry Bomb Cocktail Syrup – Made with Cherry, Coffee, and Cacao. Mix with rum and lime. This one I prefered solo, the syrup coming across like a more decadent version of Cherry Garcia ice cream. Perhaps I added too much lime, but I felt the citrus washed things out a bit. Best with dark rum and just a squeeze of lime. B+
Nickel Dime Crimson Smoke Cocktail Syrup – Made with Smoked Tea, Cranberry, and Honey. Mix with mezcal and lime. The tea is dominant on the nose, and mixed with the cranberry it comes across with a sort of hibiscus character. The finished cocktail when mixed with mezcal and lime was interesting, but something didn’t quite gel in the end; the finished product was simply too smoky, and I couldn’t get it into perfect balance with the small sample I had to work with. Might be worth experimenting with whiskey with this one. B
each $20 per 15 oz bottle (sampler packs available) / nickeldimesyrups.com