Simple Syrup Recipe: How to Make It At Home
A steadfast classic in bars across the world, simple syrup has found its place as an everyday staple in recent years – for good reason! So easy to make it should be a parlor trick, this versatile syrup adds sweetness to hot and cold beverages and can be infused with almost anything.
While you can find a basic bottle of simple syrup on most store shelves, making it at home is our preference to gain the most flavor in our favorite beverages and more.
What Is Simple Syrup?
As equal parts sugar and water, simple syrup is a natural liquid sweetener that mixes easily into beverages and more. Due to its liquid consistency, it’s a handy way to add a little sugar to iced beverages, hot drinks, and cocktails.
The most common version includes granulated sugar and water, but you can easily swap out the sugar for an alternate (like brown sugar or even honey), and the water can be infused with a variety of ingredients (like herbs, spices, fruits, or even teas).
Basic Simple Syrup Recipe: Ingredients and Equipment
A basic simple syrup recipe is one part sugar and one part water, or most easily translated to one cup of sugar and one cup of water. Simply heat together in a small pot and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. It’s not a trick – that’s all there is to making simple syrup!
Variations and Creative Ideas for Simple Syrup
As long as you keep the ratio of sugar and water equal, you can add flavor and variety to your simple syrup by steeping ingredients in the water. It’s a great way to elevate your favorite drink and use up excess ingredients in your kitchen.
To infuse with flavor, measure out your water and add to a small pot. Add the herbs and heat until the liquid reaches a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and steep with the lid on for 10-15 minutes. Strain the liquid and proceed with the basic simple syrup recipe.
Here are a few of our favorite ways to spice up simple syrup:
Herbs: If you have an herb garden, you know there’s always that moment in spring and summer when your pots are overflowing. Whether you use mint, thyme, rosemary, basil, or tarragon, herbs infuse beautifully into a simple syrup.
Berries and Citrus: While you can use any fruit, berries, and citrus (lemons, limes, oranges) will work best. For citrus, you can go straight into making the simple syrup and skip the steeping portion. Instead, start by massaging the zest into the sugar and adding it into the water with juice.
Sugar: Switching up the sugar is one of the easiest ways to customize your simple syrup – just swap up granulated sugar with the same ratio of your choice. Options like brown sugar, turbinado sugar, molasses, or maple syrup will create a rich simple syrup. You can also swap for honey to capture all of the flavor with a mild sweetness.
Spices: Fresh ginger root is one of our favorite spices to infuse into simple syrup, but a wide variety of spices work well. Whole or fresh spices will yield the most flavor, including cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, vanilla bean, nutmeg, star anise, and more.
Tea: As one of the more common things you steep in water, tea is an obvious choice for simple syrups. Often already mixed with spices, tea bags also offer a very convenient way to add dimensional flavor to your simple syrup. Earl Grey and Chai are our favorite tea choices for simple syrup.
How to Use Simple Syrup
The most common way to use simple syrup is in beverages. Just add to a hot or cold beverage, stir, and enjoy! It’s a great way to sweeten your drink and an even better way to add customization for a party or a crowd. Keep a few bottles on hand and be a professional barista at home. Add it as a special flavoring to lemonade. Or, get creative with an herbal vodka cocktail or a naturally sweetened margarita.
Simple syrup is also used for layer cakes and desserts. Brush onto a cake to seal in moisture and add another dimension of flavor to the crust. It can also be used on pastries, including biscuits and breads, to add a sweet, glossy finish.
How to Store
Homemade simple syrup is best stored in a glass jar or bottle in the refrigerator and should be enjoyed within 4-6 weeks. You can make smaller batches of simple syrup to avoid waste or adjust the ratio to two parts sugar and one part water to extend the shelf life.
We hope this quick guide has been helpful and we look forward to seeing your simple syrup creations bring your beverages and recipes to a new level!