Lagniappe – Cocktail & Sons King Cake Syrup Review

Photo courtesy of Cocktail & Sons.

Photo courtesy of Cocktail & Sons.

Every Mardi Gras season in New Orleans, store shelves get inundated with king cakes and king cake-flavored stuff.  There’s king cake vodka and king cake soda to name a couple.  Most of that stuff is overly sweet or tastes like cinnamon candy.  New Orleans-based Cocktail & Sons sought to release a king cake flavored item that’s actually good.  Flavoring for this syrup includes cinnamon, pecan extract and lemon.

That product is their limited edition King Cake cocktail syrup.  It’s limited in that the stuff’s for sale until Mardi Gras, or February 9th for those of you not lucky enough to call NOLA home.

Opening the sample bottle I was sent and taking a whiff, I have to admit – the stuff really does smell like a king cake.  It’s not just cinnamon I smell.  The other ingredients really add a complexity not always found in a flavored syrup.  I’d love to pour this over a stack of pancakes.

I tried their recommended Carnival Punch cocktail with Woodford Reserve (recipe below), and it may become a staple in the household for Mardi Gras season.  And yes, every bottle is packaged with a plastic baby.  Nice.

Bottles are available for purchase through the Cocktail & Sons online store.

Carnival Punch

By Max Messier


1.5 oz. Rum, vodka or bourbon

.75 oz. Cocktail & Sons King Cake Syrup

.75 oz. Lemon juice

Glass: Rocks

Garnish: Lemon wheel

DIRECTIONS: Add all the ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake, and strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with a lemon wheel.

Lagniappe Reviews – Soberano Brandy & Lepanto Brandy

Soberano Solera

Soberano Brandy

40% abv / SRP $24.99

Distilled from 100% wine, Soberano is a solera-aged brandy that’s about 12 months old.  The casks that make up this specific solera system are ex-sherry American oak casks.

Fragrant nose leads with a hint of wine and slight oak.  Soft entry.  Somewhat muted flavors, compared to the nose.  Mulled wine is the star, with a touch of oak, brown sugar and vanilla playing supporting roles.  Sweet, fruity medium-length finish.

Soberano is very flavorful for a young brandy.  While not bad on its own, I’d prefer to use this one in a cocktail.  Preferably an Old Fashioned.


Lepanto Gran Reserva

Lepanto Brandy

40% / SRP $55.99

Lepanto Gran Reserva brandy is also aged in a Solera system for a minimum of 12 years.  According to press material, this is made from 100% Palomino grapes.  The first nine years of maturation take place in fino sherry casks, followed by three years in ex-oloroso sherry casks.

A lovely bouquet on the nose.  There’s a big vanilla note upfront, turning into a beautiful mix of raisins, dry wine, dark caramel and a bit of oak.  The palate is equally engaging, starting with a dark fruit sweetness.  Dry red wine, cloves, cinnamon sticks and vanilla bean form most of the body, with some old, dry oak playing a supporting character.  Overall the flavors are soft without being muted.  The finish is nice and dry.

What an elegant pour!  This brandy’s time in oak concentrates and mellows flavors into something wonderful.  Keep this one away from mixers, and stick to neat pours.



(A sample of each of these two brandies was provided by their PR company.)

Lagniappe Review – Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva Rum

Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva

A rum review?  Isn’t this a whiskey website?  Yes, and yes!  Think of it as a little lagniappe.  Every now and then I’ll sprinkle a non-whiskey related post on the website to keep things interesting.  This one is special too because my buddy Mike Jorgenson came over to the house and we did a tasting together.  Mike runs, a rum blog.  Head over to his website for his take on this rum, or click here for the direct link.

Some info on this rum.  It’s distilled in Venezuela in copper pot stills from sugar cane honeys, then aged up to 12 years.  There could be some young rum in this blend.  The company offers expressions that are aged for a minimum of 12 years – their Single Vintage and Ambassador.  Both of those expressions are then finished in Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez sherry casts, respectively.  I’d love to see the sherry cask influence on rum.