If you’re a fan of cocktails, baked goods, or other sweetened drinks and recipes, then you’ve likely come across the ingredient known as simple syrup. Simple sugar syrups are a staple in many kitchens and bars, as they provide a quick and easy way to sweeten and flavor a variety of drinks and dishes.
Simple sweet syrups are used in baking as well. They can be brushed onto cakes, cupcakes, and other baked goods to add moisture and flavor. They are particularly useful for cakes that are prone to drying out, such as sponge cakes and angel food cakes.
You can brush sugar syrup onto the baked goods while they’re still warm, allowing it to soak in and keep them moist. You can also use simple sugar syrups to add flavor by infusing them with herbs, spices, or fruit. For example, you can add a cinnamon stick or vanilla bean to the syrup while it’s simmering to give it a warm, cozy flavor.
In this post, we’ll explore everything you need to know about sugar syrup, including what it is, how to make it, and how to use it in your favorite recipes. Whether you’re a seasoned mixologist, creative cook or a beginner baker, this guide has got you covered.
What is simple syrup made of? Simple syrup is made of just two main ingredients: granulated sugar and water. The sugar and water are boiled together until the sugar is completely dissolved, creating a clear and sweet liquid that can be used as a sweetener in a variety of drinks and desserts.
It’s as simple as that.
Why Make Your Own Simple Sweet Syrups?
You can buy simple sugar syrup and in some cases it makes sense. For example Grenadine is a popular flavored simple sweet syrup that many cocktail recipes are designed for. Making your own homemade grenadine and getting the exact results may be difficult in some cases.
But for most uses creating your own simple syrups work great. Expand the foodie world niche you’re working in when you add your own personal, creative touches. Making your own simple syrup is a cost-effective, customizable, and fun way to add sweetness and flavor to your cocktails and has SO many uses.
Here are some of the advantages of making simple sugar syrups at home:
- Cost Effective: A small bottle of store-bought simple syrup can be quite expensive, while making your own at home with just sugar and water is very affordable.
- Control The ingredients: You have complete control over the ingredients. You can choose to use organic sugar, or spring or filtered water. And all the other add ins you may choose can be locally sourced, home grown and organic.
- Freshness: Store-bought syrups can sit on a shelf for a long time and may lose some of their flavor or freshness. Make it fresh for best flavors.
- Customization: You can customize it to your taste preferences. If you like your drinks sweeter, you can increase the sugar to water ratio. If you prefer a thinner syrup, you can reduce the amount of sugar. You can also add different flavors and experiment with new combinations.
- Fun and creativity: This is a fun and creative activity. It can be a great way to try new flavor combinations and experiment with different ingredients to create unique and delicious drinks and recipes.
- Many uses: Although simple syrup is most often made for cocktails and drinks, it works well for many recipes.
Other ways to use simple syrup:
There are many uses for sugar syrup beyond just beverages and baking. It’s a useful ingredient to have on hand. It can be used to sweeten and flavor many different dishes and drinks.
- Salad dressings: Sugar syrups can be used to sweeten salad dressings and vinaigrettes. Combine it with vinegar, oil, and other seasonings to create a sweet and tangy dressing.
- Frozen treats: Use homemade sweet syrups to sweeten homemade ice cream, sorbet, or popsicles. You can also use it to make flavored syrups for snow cones or shaved ice.
- Marinades: Simple syrup can be used to add sweetness to meat marinades. It works particularly well with pork, chicken, and salmon.
- Iced tea: Simple syrup can be used to sweeten iced tea, adding flavor and sweetness without the graininess of regular sugar.
- Canning and preserving: Simple syrup is a common ingredient in fruit canning and preserving. It can help to preserve the color, flavor, and texture of fruits.
What is Simple Syrup Formula?
The basic formula for simple syrup is equal parts granulated sugar and water, boiled together until the sugar is completely dissolved, and then cooled. This creates a sweet liquid that can be used as a sweetener in cocktails, coffee, tea, lemonade, and other beverages, as well as in baking and other culinary applications.
There are also other simple syrup ratios that can be used for specific purposes. You can easily adjust the ratios of the sugar and water in this basic formula.
- a 1:1 ratio of sugar and water is the most common ratio for simple syrup. This gives you an all purpose syrup and is in our printable recipe below.
- A 2:1 ratio of sugar to water is also commonly used for cocktails, especially those that require a thicker, richer syrup. A 2:1 syrup will be sweeter and more concentrated, so you would use less of it in a cocktail than you would a 1:1 syrup.
- A 3:1 ratio of sugar to water is best for making syrups for desserts, as it is thicker and sweeter.
- A 4:1 ratio for making a very thick syrup that can be used as a glaze or coating for baked goods.
- A 1:2 ratio of sugar to water makes a more dilute, lighter syrup for sweetening iced tea or lemonade.
Does cooking simple syrup longer make it thicker?
Yes, cooking sugar syrup for a longer period of time can make it thicker. The longer you cook the syrup, the more water will evaporate. this is called ‘reducing the syrup’. Reducing increases the concentration of sugar in the mixture and makes it thicker.
You can experiment with different ratios to find the perfect syrup for your needs. Just keep in mind that the more sugar you use, and the longer you simmer the syrup, the thicker and sweeter your syrup will be.
How toMake Simple Syrup Flavors and variations on our basic recipe:
- Mint Simple Syrup: Add a handful of fresh mint leaves to our basic syrup recipe while it’s still warm. Let the mixture cool and then strain out the mint leaves. This syrup is used for adding a refreshing minty flavor to cocktails like mojitos or iced tea.
- Vanilla Simple Syrup: Split a vanilla bean lengthwise and add it to the basic syrup recipe while it’s still warm. Let the mixture cool and then strain out the vanilla bean. Use it for adding a sweet and fragrant vanilla flavor to coffee drinks, milkshakes, or even oatmeal.
- Ginger Simple Syrup: Add a few slices of fresh ginger to our basic syrup recipe while it’s still warm. Let the mixture cool and then strain out the ginger. This syrup is delicious while adding a spicy and warming flavor to cocktails like Moscow Mules or ginger beer.
- Cinnamon Simple Syrup: Add a cinnamon stick to our basic syrup recipe while it’s still warm. Let the mixture cool and then strain out the cinnamon stick. This syrup contributes a warm and comforting flavor to coffee drinks or hot cocoa.
- Lavender Simple Syrup: Add a tablespoon of dried culinary lavender to the basic syrup recipe while it’s still warm. Let the mixture cool and then strain out the lavender. This syrup adds a floral, fragrant flavor to cocktails like the French 75 or lemonade.
- Coffee simple syrup: Add 1/2 cup coarsely ground coffee for each 1 cup of water to 1 cup of sugar. Follow the printable recipe. Adjust to taste.
- Lemon Simple syrup: Add 1/4 fresh lemon juice (2 to 3 lemons) to our basic recipe below. Be sure to strain our the pulp as it cools. Adjust to taste.
- Peach Simple Syrup: Cook the basic syrup recipe with two medium fresh peaches pitted and chopped. After the syrup cools strain out the peaches. Store in fridge up to 2 weeks.
- Rosemary simple syrup: Add 4 to 5 sprigs of fresh rosemary to the basic recipe. After the syrup cools strain out the rosemary sprigs. Stores in fridge up to a month. Delicious in cocktails, ice tea and other drinks.
- Rhubarb Simple syrup: Add 1 Cup chopped Rhubarb to our basic sugar syrup recipe. Boil on high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 20 minutes until rhubarb is cooked and the syrup is thickened. Cool and strain out rhubarb. Store in fridge up to 2 weeks. You can use this rhubarb syrup to flavor cocktails, lemonade, or even drizzle it over pancakes or waffles for a sweet and tangy breakfast treat.
These are just a few ideas for flavoring your sugar syrup. It’s easy to adjust the amount of flavoring ingredients to suit your taste preferences.
Does simple syrup need to boil?
We prefer the boiling method when making sugar syrups. Boiling ensures the sugar is fully dissolved and evenly distributed throughout the liquid. However, you don’t need to boil the syrup for a long time; just enough time to dissolve the sugar completely.
The Cold Process Method:
Mixing the sugar and water and letting it stand until the sugar dissolves is a method called “cold process” or “cold stir” method. This method can work, but it will take a longer time for the sugar to dissolve compared to boiling the mixture, and may not give you satisfactory results.
If you choose to use the cold process method, you’ll need to stir the mixture frequently until the sugar is completely dissolved. Depending on the temperature of the room and the amount of sugar used, it can take anywhere from a few hours to overnight for the sugar to dissolve completely.
Why has my sugar syrup gone hard? If your sugar syrup has gone hard, it’s likely crystallized. To prevent crystallization, dissolve the sugar completely in the water and avoid stirring the syrup too much while it’s cooking. If your syrup has already crystallized, you may be able to salvage it by reheating it and adding a bit more water or acid such as lemon juice or cream of tartar to the mixture.
To prevent crystallization, it’s important to dissolve the sugar completely in the water before cooking the syrup. Stir the mixture well until all of the sugar has dissolved, and then cook the syrup on low to medium heat until it reaches the desired consistency.
What is a Substitute for Simple Syrup?
If you don’t have simple syrup on hand, there are a few substitutes you can use without bothering to make them into a syrup. But be careful. Each of these options has a unique flavor and sweetness level. Choose the one that best complements your drink or recipe.
- Honey: Honey can be used as a substitute in cocktails and other drinks. It’s sweeter than simple syrup, so you may need to use less of it to achieve the same level of sweetness.
- Agave nectar: Agave nectar is a natural sweetener that can be used as a substitute in cocktails and other drinks. It has a similar consistency to simple syrup and is slightly sweeter, so you may need to use less of it.
- Maple syrup: Maple syrup can be used as a substitute in some cocktails and drinks, particularly those that have a fall or winter flavor profile. It has a distinct flavor, so it’s best to use it in cocktails that complement its taste.
- Sugar cubes: If you don’t have simple syrup on hand, you can muddle a sugar cube in a cocktail shaker or glass to create a sweetener for your drink. This method can take a little longer to dissolve than simple sugar syrup, but it will work in a pinch.
How to Replace Sugar in this Recipe:
There are several sugar substitutes that can be used when making simple syrup. These ingredients can be used in place of the sugar in our basic recipe with good results. Your Choice depends on your dietary preferences, tastes and needs.
- Honey: Honey simple syrup is a popular alternative to regular simple syrup. It’s made by substituting honey for sugar in the recipe. Use a 1:1 ratio of honey to water and follow the same method as regular simple syrup.
- Agave nectar: Agave nectar is a natural sweetener that can be used in place of sugar. Use a 1:1 ratio of agave nectar to water and follow the same method as regular simple syrup.
- Stevia: Stevia is a calorie-free sweetener that can be used in place of sugar. Use a small amount of powdered stevia or liquid stevia to taste, as it’s much sweeter than sugar. Mix it with hot water until it dissolves and then let it cool. No need to boil with stevia.
- Maple syrup: Maple syrup can also be used to make a flavorful simple syrup. Use a 1:1 ratio of maple syrup to water and follow the same method as regular simple syrup.
- Brown sugar simple syrup: has a caramel-like flavor and a light brown color. Use a 1:1 ratio of brown sugar and water for the basic recipe, or experiment with different ratios and types of brown sugar to achieve your desired flavor and sweetness level.
When using sugar substitutes, keep in mind that they may have different levels of sweetness and may react differently to heat than sugar. It may take some experimentation to find the right amount and method for your desired taste and consistency.
Storing Simple Syrup:
How long does simple syrup last? Store your basic simple sugar syrups in a glass or plastic airtight container in the refrigerator and use it within a month or so for best results. If you are using fresh ingredients, like lemons, peaches or rhubarb, the storage life may go down to 2 weeks. If you notice any signs of spoilage, such as mold or an off smell, you should discard the syrup immediately.
To extend the shelf life of your syrup, you can also add a splash of vodka or another high-proof alcohol. The alcohol acts as a preservative and can help to keep the syrup fresh for longer. You only need to add a small amount of alcohol (about 1 tablespoon per cup of syrup) to achieve this effect.
Freezing Simple Syrup: Freeze simple syrup into ice cubes to use in drinks. Freezing the syrup will not alter the sweetness or flavor, and the ice cubes will dissolve slowly, allowing the drink to maintain its sweetness without diluting it too quickly.
Simple syrup ice cubes are perfect for iced coffee, tea, lemonade, and cocktails, adding a touch of sweetness and keeping your drinks cool at the same time. You can also try freezing flavored syrups, such as mint or lavender, to add an extra layer of flavor to your drinks.
Here is the printable basic recipe with several of the options for flavored simple syrup in the notes section. For even more ideas on substitutions, flavoring and ratios for different thicknesses and uses for your syrups, please read the entire post. Enjoy!
Homemade Simple Syrup Recipe
Homemade simple syrup is a sweet syrup made by dissolving equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan over low heat until the sugar is completely dissolved. It is a versatile ingredient commonly used in beverages to add sweetness and flavor. but there are also many other uses for simple syrup in baking, marinades, dressings ect.
Simple syrup can also be flavored with ingredients such as herbs, spices, or fruit to add a unique twist to your favorite drinks. Making simple syrup at home is an easy and cost-effective way to enhance the taste of your drinks and impress your guests
- 1 Cup Granulated sugar
- 1 Cup Water
- In a saucepan, combine the sugar and water.
- Stir the mixture until the sugar is completely dissolved. This step is important to prevent crystallization, so make sure to stir until no sugar granules are visible.
- Once the sugar is fully dissolved, place the saucepan on the stove over medium heat.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally to ensure that the sugar doesn't settle on the bottom of the pan.
- Once the mixture has reached a boil, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about 5 minutes. This helps to thicken the syrup and concentrate the sugar.
- After 5 minutes, remove the pan from the heat and let it cool to room temperature.
- Once the syrup has cooled, transfer it to a clean, airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to a month.
*MANY versions of simple syrup can be made from this simple recipe. Here are some ideas for flavored simple syrup recipes that you can try:
Mint Simple Syrup: Add a handful of fresh mint leaves to your basic simple syrup recipe while it's still warm. Let the mixture cool and then strain out the mint leaves. This syrup is great for adding a refreshing minty flavor to cocktails like mojitos or iced tea.
Vanilla Simple Syrup: Split a vanilla bean lengthwise and add it to your basic simple syrup recipe while it's still warm. Let the mixture cool and then strain out the vanilla bean. This syrup is great for adding a sweet and fragrant vanilla flavor to coffee drinks, milkshakes, or even oatmeal.
Ginger Simple Syrup: Add a few slices of fresh ginger to your basic simple syrup recipe while it's still warm. Let the mixture cool and then strain out the ginger. This syrup is great for adding a spicy and warming flavor to cocktails like Moscow Mules or ginger beer.
Cinnamon Simple Syrup: Add a cinnamon stick to your basic simple syrup recipe while it's still warm. Let the mixture cool and then strain out the cinnamon stick. This syrup is great for adding a warm and comforting flavor to coffee drinks or hot cocoa.
Lavender Simple Syrup: Add a tablespoon of dried culinary lavender to your basic simple syrup recipe while it's still warm. Let the mixture cool and then strain out the lavender. This syrup is great for adding a floral and fragrant flavor to cocktails like the French 75 or lemonade.
*There are even more versions listed in the complete post. As well as ideas for sugar substitutions if you need them.
These are just a few ideas to get you started, but there are countless flavor combinations you can try with simple syrup. Just remember to adjust the amount of flavoring ingredients to suit your taste preferences.
More Uses for simple syrup:
there are many ways to use simple syrup beyond just in beverages and baking. Here are a few ideas:
Salad dressings: Simple syrup can be used to sweeten salad dressings and vinaigrettes. Combine it with vinegar, oil, and other seasonings to create a sweet and tangy dressing.
Frozen treats: Use simple syrup to sweeten homemade ice cream, sorbet, or popsicles. You can also use it to make flavored syrups for snow cones or shaved ice.
Marinades: Simple syrup can be used to add sweetness to meat marinades. It works particularly well with pork, chicken, and salmon.
Iced tea: Simple syrup can be used to sweeten iced tea, adding flavor and sweetness without the graininess of regular sugar.
Canning and preserving: Simple syrup is a common ingredient in fruit canning and preserving. It can help to preserve the color, flavor, and texture of fruits.
Simple syrup is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of ways. It's a useful ingredient to have on hand, as it can be used to sweeten and flavor many different dishes and drinks.
Amount Per Serving Calories 111Total Fat 0gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 2mgCarbohydrates 29gFiber 0gSugar 29gProtein 0g
Delicious Drinks that use Simple Syrup:
Here’s a few cocktails that use simple syrup and will work well with your homemade versions.
We have so many Adult beverages on Homemade Food Junkie. Please stop by our cocktail section to see them all. Here are a few we think you will enjoy.
- Strawberry Daiquiri
- Blue Motorcycle Drink
- Ocean blue Margarita
- Mezcal Cocktail
- Red Raspberry Champagne Cocktail
- Rosé Sangria
- Crown Royal Peach And Cream Drink
- Malibu Sunset Cocktail
- Mexican Martini
- Peanut Butter Whiskey PB and J
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