To enhance the coffee service during the 2015 Houston Culinary Awards dinner on October 4, featured bartender Monica Richards of Arnaldo Richards’ Picos cooked up coffee accoutrements for our guests. Richards batched two sinful syrups: The Chocolate Haze (a chocolate hazelnut syrup) and a fragrant café de olla syrup full of warm Fall flavors. These were served in small pitchers on each table along with traditional sugar and cream as the coffee was poured.

But these two syrups aren’t just for coffee. Drizzle them over desserts and ice cream for added indulgence, or use them in a cocktail in place of simple syrup for a sip that’s a bit more complex.

So read the recipes below, watch the video and then batch up a bottle of these seasonal syrups and keep them handy in the fridge — because you never know when you’ll need an extra dose of something sweet.

Photo by Becca Wright

Photo by Becca Wright

16 oz. jar of chocolate hazelnut butter
4 cups whole milk
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

METHOD: Warm the chocolate hazelnut butter container in a pan of warm water so that it loosens from the jar and then add it to a shallow saucepan and melt over medium heat. Lower the heat and add 4 cups of whole milk to the melted chocolate hazelnut and whisk to combine. Be sure the mixture is not simmering.

Add the chocolate chips to the mixture and use a spatula to continuously mix and fold the chips, so the chocolate does not burn on the bottom of the pan. Once the mixture is smooth, set aside and let cool. Don’t refrigerate the chocolate syrup until it has thoroughly cooled on the stove top.

Use the syrup to make the …


2 oz. The Chocolate Haze
1 oz. mezcal
¾ oz. Green Chartreuse

METHOD: Combine the three ingredients and serve over ice.

8 cups of water
4 piloncillo cones (sugar cane cones, available at Fiesta, HEB and Canino Produce)
rind of 1 orange
4 large cinnamon sticks
1 tsp. cloves
1 Tbsp. anise seeds

METHOD: Boil 8 cups of water. Add the 4 piloncillo cones to the water and reduce the heat to medium. Once the cones begin to dissolve, add the rind of 1 orange and turn off the heat. Next add the cinnamon, cloves and anise seeds. Turn the heat back on and bring to a boil. Roughly 10 seconds after it starts boiling (before the sugar mixture boils over the pot), quickly remove from heat and set aside to cool for at least 2 hours. Once cool, fine strain the mixture, and it’s ready to serve. If refrigerated, the syrup should last about one month.