Orange Spice, a Blast from Moja’s past…

Orange Spice the Way you Remember...







…Well, everything but that last bit. These are the sounds that have summed up my mornings for the last couple of years.

Hi, I’m Tristan, and I’m a barista.

Not only do we have this snazzy new site up and running, but it means the cafe staff gets to try their hand at blogging about coffee and cafe culture, the industry in general, and basically waste time at work between lattes.

…You know as soon as all the tables are clean.

Those of you loyal to Moja over the last year or so may or may not recall the signature drink we offered to the general public at Christmas in 2009. I did up a really cool syrup that we called Orange Spice and then made it into Orange Spice Lattes. Little 8oz cups of Christmas to be enjoyed by everyone. The not-so-advertised part of the ol’ Spice syrup was that it was good on EVERYTHING. I had to make double batches so that staff could put it on croissants, danishes, cookies, etc. Pretty brutal. I’m pretty sure I caught Dave drizzling it on double-baked almond croissants and then making me swear I’d take it to the grave.

But nobody reads this blog, right?

In any case, I’m not generally in the habit of offering the same specialty drink twice, and this philosophy had more than a few customers choked up after a long, hard year went by and no Orange Spice showed up at the end to console them. Feelings of betrayal, hurt, anger and deep depression were not uncommon as the word spread that Tristan would not be offering his treasured Orange Spice to the world.


It’s true, I won’t be making this syrup again for use in the cafe (unless we start bottling my stuff and selling it… hmmmm….) but I will toss the recipe on here for any of you keeners to try. It’s actually super simple, and you can make great big batches of it and it keeps for ages. Then put it on everything.



2 cups Turbinado sugar

2 cups water

1 small handful Allspice

1 small handful Cloves

3 large cinnamon sticks, broken in half

4 tbsp ground nutmeg (This is what I used, because at the time I couldn’t for the life of me find whole nutmeg… but that would be better)

Zest of 2 large Navel oranges


Combine sugar and water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Simmer for 10 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. the liquid should be a deep amber color with no sugar crystals visible. Congratulations, you’ve made simple syrup!

Reduce heat to low, and add all the ingredients except the orange zest. Simmer for 5 minutes, then freshly zest the orange directly into the saucepan. The idea here is to preserve some of the bright citrus-y orange flavor and not cook it all out. Simmer for another 10-15 minutes, stirring and tasting constantly to achieve desired balance of flavour.

IMPORTANT: After you’ve made your simple syrup, it’s important not to let it boil again. If you do, the sugar syrup will crystallize and harden up when you remove it from the heat and leave it in the fridge.

Remove the mixture from heat and allow to cool. Strain into squeeze bottles. Keeps in the fridge for 2-3 weeks.

And that’s it! Super easy and it really does go on anything. I gave it to all my friends for Christmas and heard rave reviews for everything from ice cream to tea to pancakes. We can’t serve these in the cafe, but here’s my buddy Scott’s recipe for a Orange Spiced Old Fashioned Cocktail:

2oz Canadian Whiskey (We used Alberta Premium)

1/3oz Orange Spice (or to taste)

2 dashes Angostura Bitters (But I bet cherry bitters or Peychaud’s Orange Bitters would be rad too…)

2 large ice cubes

Orange and lemon cheeks for garnish

Combine whiskey, syrup and bitters in a rocks glass, stir slowly until combined. Pinch citrus over the glass to release the oil, and run around the rim. Add ice, garnish and serve.

So give it a try at home, if you’re so inclined. If you have any problems, drop by the cafe and ask me about it. I made a lot of this stuff, so if you run into a speed bump, chances are so did I and I figured it out.

See you at the cafe!