Flavored Sugar Cubes Are My New Way to Punch Up Everything from Coffee to Cocktails
I've always been a sucker for a sugar cube. There is just something about the ritual involved in using them: asking a friend at tea if they would like "one lump or two?" little bowls with silver sugar tongs for elegant coffee service, and a proper bitters-soaked cube in the bottom of a classic Champagne cocktail. I love the precise knife-edged square of a standard cube and the rustic craggy appeal of a natural cube.
The arrival of flavored sugar cubes in my life
So, when I received a package of Storied Goods flavored sugar cubes, I knew they were speaking my language. These elegant tins of headily scented cubes are perfect for gifting or as an extra-special touch for brunches, afternoon teas, or cocktail hours. They come in three flavors: Orange-Cherry, Cinnamon-Vanilla, and Rose Petal. All three work beautifully in tea and coffee, but I also love the Cinnamon-Vanilla in hot chocolate, and the Rose Petal in lemonade. At my home bar, Orange-Cherry is a natural for any whisky drink, turning it into an instant old-fashioned, and the Rose Petal in Champagne is swoon-worthy.
I also like to bash them into jagged little nuggets for baking—they make a wonderful topper for muffins and scones. The Rose Petal is gorgeous with pistachio muffins, the Cinnamon-Vanilla amps up a plain scone perfectly, and the Orange-Cherry will take an oat or bran muffin to a whole new place. A one-ounce tin of any flavor is $15, or you can get the trio for $42.
How to make flavored sugar cubes yourself!
If these flavors aren't your cup of tea, never fear. Flavored sugar cubes are easy to make at home! All you need are basic sugar cubes and some flavoring agents like citrus oils, vanilla, bitters, or baking extracts. Here's all you do:
1. Spread your cubes out on a parchment-lined sheet pan and heat your oven to its lowest heat (between 175°-200°).
2. Put a few tablespoons of water in a small bowl and add your flavoring a couple of drops at a time until you get a reasonably strong flavor when you taste. Transfer to a clean misting spray bottle and lightly spray your cubes, being sure to flip them over and spray the underside but being careful not to saturate or soak them. You just want all six sides of each cube to get a light misting.
3. Transfer the pan to your oven to dry the cubes, likely around an hour. They should not color.
4. Let cool completely on the pan on a rack and then store in an airtight container in a cool dark place in your pantry. They will be at their most potent for the first couple of weeks but will last months.
If you notice their flavor has begun to wane, you don't have to discard! Just repeat the flavoring process with the old cubes to refresh them.