Syrups
Syrups, clockwise from top: Mugolio Pine Cone Bud, Ginger, Small Hands Foods

If the last syrup you sampled was of the cough or Aunt Jemima variety, it's probably time to rethink the sticky stuff. Start with these new artisanal syrups (for food and drink) that are anything but simple:

Your go-to Vermont-maple is well and good, but the next time you're looking to douse your waffles, we suggest Mugolio Pine Cone Bud Syrup ($24). Made from the sap of a dwarf Italian evergreen, this rich, thick and nuanced syrup is sweet and piney, not to mention multi-functional: Use it in marinades and cocktails, or pour it over vanilla ice cream, roasted fruits or fresh ricotta.

Equally versatile--though perhaps more dark and stormy--is the adorably packaged Ginger Syrup ($8) from brother-sister team, Kari and Tyler Morris. Mix the potent small-batch concoction with club soda to make a seriously high-end ginger ale, or use it to pep up dinners and desserts.

And if you just want to make a killer cocktail, stock up on Small Hands Foods's "pre-Prohibition era" syrups. Beloved by Bay Area bartenders, these corn syrup- and food coloring-free mixers democratize typically hard-to-make drinks. Try the Raspberry Gum Syrup ($15) in a Jack Rose or Clover Club, or the Orgeat ($16) in a festive Mai Tai.

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