Giffard syrups are a type of fruit syrup commonly used as cocktail ingredients in bars and restaurants. Some popular Giffard syrup flavors include passion fruit, orgeat (almond), and ginger. Giffard syrups help add sweetness, flavor, and color to cocktails. They can be used in place of simple syrup or plain fruit juice to create more complex drink recipes.
One common question about Giffard syrups is whether they contain alcohol. The quick answer is that most Giffard syrups are non-alcoholic, but some specialty flavors do contain alcohol. Keep reading to learn more about Giffard syrup ingredients and alcohol content.
About Giffard Syrups
Giffard is a French company that has been making syrups since 1885. Their facility is located in Angers, France and they export their products worldwide.
Giffard uses fruit juices, extracts, spices, nuts, and other natural ingredients to make their syrups. The syrups do not contain any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
The main ingredients in a standard Giffard syrup recipe are:
- Fruit juice or fruit puree – provides flavor and sweetness
- Sugar – adds sweetness and viscosity
- Water – thins out the syrup
- Citric acid – helps preserve color and flavor
So in general, a Giffard syrup contains concentrated fruit juice mixed with sugar syrup to create an intensely flavored liquid. The amount of actual fruit juice varies between flavors.
Do Giffard Syrups Contain Alcohol?
The majority of Giffard syrups do not contain any alcohol. They have 0% ABV (alcohol by volume).
However, Giffard does make some specialty syrups that do contain alcohol:
- Caribbean Pineapple Syrup – 25% ABV
- Pink Grapefruit Syrup – 30% ABV
- Meyer Lemon Syrup – 25% ABV
- Lychee Syrup – 30% ABV
- Sake Syrup – 16% ABV
- Raspberry Syrup – 30% ABV
These alcohol-containing syrups tend to use distilled spirits as part of the recipe. For example, the Caribbean Pineapple syrup uses aged rum. The Raspberry syrup uses framboise, a raspberry-flavored brandy.
So out of Giffard’s 100+ syrup flavors, only a handful contain alcohol. The majority are non-alcoholic.
Checking the Label
To be sure of the alcohol content, check the label on your bottle of Giffard syrup.
Giffard clearly lists the ABV or proof on any syrups that contain alcohol. This information will be prominently displayed along with the ingredients.
For their non-alcoholic syrups, the label will simply say “alc. 0%” or “non-alcoholic”.
So reading the label is the best way to verify if a specific Giffard syrup contains alcohol or not. Don’t assume all the flavors are non-alcoholic. But the majority of them are.
Why Giffard Adds Alcohol to Some Syrups
Giffard includes alcohol in the recipe for some syrups for a few reasons:
- Flavor extraction – Alcohol can extract more flavor compounds from ingredients like fruit skins or herbs.
- Preservation – The alcohol content helps preserve the syrup and prevent spoilage.
- Mouthfeel – Alcohol can change the viscosity and mouthfeel of the syrup.
- Aroma – Alcohol helps volatilize aromatics in the syrup.
So while alcohol is not a necessary ingredient, Giffard uses it strategically in some syrups to achieve a specific flavor profile.
The alcohol level is kept low enough that the syrups do not feel “boozy”. But it does make for a more intense fruit or spice flavor.
Should You Use Alcoholic Syrups in Non-Alcoholic Drinks?
While Giffard’s alcoholic syrups contain minimal amounts of alcohol, it’s still something to consider when making non-alcoholic cocktails.
A drink containing 1 oz of a 25% ABV syrup will have about 0.25 oz of actual alcohol content. That’s equivalent to:
- 1% ABV beer – 0.5% alcohol
- 5% ABV wine – 1.25% alcohol
So the drink will not be truly “non-alcoholic” if it contains an alcoholic Giffard syrup. The alcohol content will be small but still present.
Whether or not this matters depends on your reasons for wanting a non-alcoholic drink:
- Religious reasons – Any alcohol content may be prohibited
- Dietary restriction – Small amounts may be tolerated
- Drinking and driving – Small amounts are generally acceptable
- Alcohol intolerance – Even a tiny bit of alcohol could cause reactions
So consider who will be consuming the non-alcoholic drink when deciding whether to use an alcoholic syrup or not. Erring on the side of caution and using only 0% ABV syrups is recommended.
Popular Non-Alcoholic Giffard Syrups
Here are some of Giffard’s most popular syrups that contain 0% alcohol:
- Vanilla – Tastes exactly like vanilla extract. Great for milkshakes or vanilla cocktails.
- Orgeat – Sweet almond flavor. Key ingredient in Mai Tais.
- Grenadine – Tart pomegranate flavor. Vivid red color.
- Mint – Strong spearmint flavor. Useful for mojitos or mint juleps.
- Passion fruit – Tart passion fruit flavor. Adds tropical fruitiness.
- Elderflower – Floral, perfumy flavor. Pairs well with gin or vodka.
All of the above can be used in non-alcoholic drinks with no worries about accidental alcohol content.
Cocktails Made with Non-Alcoholic Giffard Syrups
Here are some non-alcoholic cocktail ideas using Giffard’s 0% ABV syrups:
- 2 oz soda water
- 1 oz fresh lime juice
- 1⁄2 oz Giffard mint syrup
- 5 mint leaves
- Lime wedge garnish
Muddle the mint leaves with the lime juice and syrup. Add ice and soda water. Garnish with mint and lime.
- 1 oz Giffard grenadine
- 4 oz ginger ale
- Maraschino cherry garnish
Add grenadine to a glass filled with ice. Top with ginger ale. Garnish with cherry.
Virgin Strawberry Daiquiri
- 2 oz strawberry puree
- 1 oz fresh lime juice
- 1⁄2 oz Giffard vanilla syrup
- Lime wheel garnish
Blend all ingredients with ice until smooth. Pour into a chilled glass and garnish.
How Long Does Giffard Syrup Last?
When stored properly, Giffard syrups can last:
- Unopened – About 2 years from the production date
- Opened, refrigerated – About 6 months
The high sugar content helps preserve the syrups. Keeping them sealed and refrigerated after opening will give you the longest shelf life.
Over time, the syrup flavors may fade slightly or lose their vibrancy. But they will remain safe to consume for about 6 months.
Discard any syrup that develops mold or smells odd. And never reuse syrup from bar pour bottles due to contamination risks.
Where to Buy Giffard Syrups
Here are some places where you can buy Giffard syrups:
- Bar supply stores – Many carry Giffard syrups, especially in larger bottles for bars and restaurants.
- Online – Websites like Amazon, Webstaurant Store, and Bar Products sell Giffard syrups.
- Specialty alcohol stores – Some liquor stores may stock Giffard in their mixer/cocktail ingredients section.
- Gourmet food stores – Specialty food shops sometimes carry Giffard along with other cocktail mixers.
Giffard’s wide distribution makes their syrups easy to source online or locally in most areas.
Prices can range from $6 a bottle for common flavors up to $50 a bottle for premium varieties like rose or violet.
How to Use Giffard Syrups
Giffard syrups are highly concentrated, so you only need a small amount to make an impact. General syrup usage is:
- Cocktails: 1⁄4 – 1⁄2 oz per drink
- Soda: 1-2 tbsp per 8-12 oz
- Food: 1-2 tsp per dish
Start with a small amount and add more to taste. You can always add more syrup, but you can’t take it back out.
Some popular ways to use Giffard syrups:
- Sweeten cocktails in place of simple syrup
- Flavor soda water or iced tea
- Make Italian sodas with syrup, soda water, and cream
- Drizzle over waffles, pancakes, or ice cream
- Sweeten and flavor salad dressings or marinades
- Bake into cookies, cakes, or pies
Giffard syrups are versatile cocktail mixers but also work deliciously in desserts, drinks, and more.
While most Giffard syrups are non-alcoholic, some specialty flavors do contain a minimal amount of alcohol from distilled spirits. Always check the label to see if a syrup contains alcohol, especially when making drinks for people who wish to avoid alcohol entirely. Popular non-alcoholic varieties like vanilla, orgeat, and grenadine can provide great flavor without the worry. Giffard syrups are concentrated and keep for about 6 months refrigerated, so explore mixing them into cocktails and all kinds of sweet treats.