Simple Syrup

updated Dec 14, 2023

This essential cocktail ingredient comes together quickly with just sugar and water.

Makes1 1/2 cups

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When I first started learning how to make cocktails at home, I had no idea people made their own simple syrup. I was the person who went to the store to buy a bottle of what I later learned to be sugar water. That’s right — sugar dissolved in water.

Simple syrup is an essential ingredient in cocktails and other beverages because it blends so well with other liquids, and it’s super easy to make yourself — we promise. When you learn how easy it is, you’ll end up creating all different types of amazing herb syrups and fruit syrups for your cocktails at home.

Credit: Lauren Volo

What Is Simple Syrup?

Simple syrup is liquified sugar that is primarily used as a key ingredient in cocktails, but can also be used as a sweetener for teas, coffees, and even baked goods.

Simple Syrup Ratio

Traditional simple syrup is made from one part water to one part sugar (1:1). White granulated sugar is the standard sweetener, but once you’ve mastered that basic base, feel free to experiment with different sugars, while being sure to keep the ratio the same.

How to Measure Simple Syrup

Measuring might be the most complicated part of making simple syrup. Measuring by volume is most common. The second way to measure your ingredients is by weight, which is more precise (if only by a fraction).

  • To measure by weight: Weigh eight ounces of water, then combine with eight ounces of granulated sugar using a digital scale.
Credit: Lauren Volo

Tips for Making Simple Syrup

  • Heat the water first. Heating the sugar and water together won’t ruin the syrup — it just takes longer to heat. To save time, heat the water first before adding the sugar.
  • Don’t bring the water to a boil. The water should be hot enough to dissolve the sugar completely, but you don’t want to boil simple syrup for too long (or you’ll end up with caramel).
  • Cool the simple syrup completely. Once the sugar is dissolved, let the syrup cool completely before storing. Use a kitchen funnel to transfer the syrup to a glass container.

How Long Does Simple Syrup Last?

If stored correctly in a glass container in the fridge, homemade simple should last two to three weeks.

How to Use Simple Syrup

Homemade syrup is versatile, but it’s primarily used for:

Simple Syrup Variations

  • Rich simple syrup: One common simple syrup variation is rich simple syrup. Instead of the traditional one part sugar to one part water, it calls for two parts sugar to one part water (2:1). The process of making it is exactly the same. Many bartenders and home cocktail enthusiasts prefer to use rich simple syrup because of the rich syrup’s thicker texture. It can add a little more body to your cocktails.
  • Brown sugar syrup: This variation uses the same 1:1 ratio as regular simple syrup, but with light or dark brown sugar. Brown sugar syrup has a deep, caramel-like flavor that pairs well with espresso cocktails.
  • Flavored simple syrup: The world of flavored simple syrup is endless. You can get pretty creative with fruit syrups, herb syrups, ginger syrup, spiced syrups, and more.

Making your own syrups at home is a great way to take your home creations to a new level by introducing different flavor profiles into your cocktails and other beverages.

Simple Syrup Recipe

This essential cocktail ingredient comes together quickly with just sugar and water.

Makes 1 1/2 cups

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1 cup

    water, preferably filtered

  • 1 cup

    granulated sugar

Instructions

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  1. Heat 1 cup water in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until hot, but do not bring to a boil.

  2. Add 1 cup granulated sugar and stir until fully dissolved.

  3. Let the syrup cool to room temperature before using or storing. Using a funnel if needed, transfer the simple syrup into a glass jar and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Store it in a glass container in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 weeks.