"One of the most important things to us is the pride of using whole ingredients, organic ingredients," says Forrest Butler of Royal Rose syrups. "A first grader should be able to read the label and understand the ingredients." That doesn't mean an unsophisticated product, though—with flavors like cardamom/clove, tamarind, three chiles, lavender/lemon, rose, raspberry, and limited editions like blueberry and autumn plum, there's something to wake up the most jaded palate.
Describing himself as "really into cocktails," Butler had spent more than a decade in the bar business and often made flavored simple syrups for the bars where he worked and his own use. One day when his now-wife, Emily, was canning peaches, he took the leftover juice and started playing with adding vanilla beans and basil. That initial bout of experimentation, he says, "spiraled into a fridge full of jars—no food." Starting the company, which they named Royal Rose after the stove in Emily's first apartment, was a natural next step.
"We just wanted to share out love of flavors and cocktails and mocktails with the home mixologist and seasoned mixologists as well," he says.
While Butler says that the syrups are great in sodas, and that the widespread home use of Sodastream machines "probably definitely helped" the company's growth, all of their flavors "are based around spirits." Starting out with a particular spirit in mind, they consider which flavor profiles work well with it and build the syrups from there. "We make things that we like," he says.
While hard-pressed to choose a favorite, Butler names "floral but not overly sweet" rose as his go-to flavor. In addition to combining it with bourbon and milder gins, he likes it "on yogurt, over vanilla ice cream, drizzled on granola, or added to crumbles and crisps," adding, "I've done everything but take a bath in it."
Visit royalroseny.com for a vendor list and recipes.
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