How You Can Use Jam To Make Fruity, Springtime Cocktails

Ditch the simple syrup and use blackberry jam for this margarita.

Blackberry jam margarita
Blackberry jam margarita | Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist
Blackberry jam margarita | Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist

Simple syrup is a tried-and-true cocktail ingredient. The blend calls for a 1:1 ratio of sugar to water, stirred over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. But what happens when you don’t have sugar on hand or are trying to consume it less? Enter the jams, jellies, or preserves going unused in your refrigerator or kitchen cabinet. 

Using flavored jams in lieu of adding simple syrup to your cocktails is another effortless way to enhance the flavor. It’s also a way to get another use of your jams that you’ve traditionally only used to butter your toast. “I love using jam in my home cocktails because it’s a great way to add fruit and sweetness to a cocktail, using items in my pantry with a long shelf-life and also eliminating unnecessary waste,” says Tracy Javier, cocktail curator at the W Hotel in Washington DC.

Now before you go mixing it up, first consider which spirits you use to pair with your chosen jam. “When I pair jams and cocktails, I like to use a 2:1:1 ratio of spirit, jam, and citrus,” says Javier. “If you’re a novice, vodka will work well with any jams, but I prefer to use gin in a lot of my jam cocktails. The herbs in gin typically enhance the flavor of jams.” 

If you prefer your cocktails a little more tart, play around with the amount of jam to get it just right. While you can use jam as a 1:1 replacement for simple syrup, jam can be a little sweeter and may contain more acid depending on the jam. Try using ¾ oz. of jam to start in place of the 1 oz. of simple syrup you’d normally use to mix with the lemon or lime juice you use. Give your mixture a taste and adjust the measurements as necessary.

Once you’ve decided on your jam, spirit, and acid, be sure to strain your cocktail before serving it. Jam can make the consistency of the cocktail thick. And there’s no need to ingest chunks of fruit as you imbibe. 

On a final note, “Pay attention to some cocktails you like at restaurants,” Javier says. “Some of the fresh fruit bartenders use in cocktails can be mimicked with the same fruit in jam at home.” 

Need more inspiration? Check out Tracy discussing jam cocktails and how to enjoy them. Then give it a try for yourself.

Blackberry-Mint Margarita

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. blanco tequila
  • .5 oz. Cointreau
  • ¾ oz. Trade St. Jam Company’s Blackberry Mulled Merlot Jam
  • 1 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 3 sprigs of mint

Directions: 

1. If you like salt on your margarita, run a quarter of a lime wedge around the rim of a rocks glass and dip the rim in salt.
2. In a cocktail shaker, combine tequila, Cointreau, jam, and lime juice.
3. 
Using 2 sprigs of mint, put them in the palm of your hand and release some of the oils by clapping your hands together a few times.
4. 
Then add the mint to your cocktail shaker along with ice and shake for 10-15 seconds until chilled.
5. 
Fill your glass with fresh ice and strain the contents of the cocktail shaker into your glass.
6. 
Garnish with a mint sprig and enjoy.

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Ashlee Tuck is the founder and editor-in-chief of Will Drink For Travel, a website dedicated to all things travel and mixology. She considers herself a cocktail enthusiast with a heart for highlighting Black-owned spirits.