Learn how to make homemade Simple Syrup in just five minutes. All you need is sugar and water. This versatile sweetener is an essential recipe to have in your back pocket for your cocktails, iced tea, iced coffee, fruit juice, and more.
Simple syrup is a common ingredient in beverage recipes, whether you’re making a cocktail or iced tea. All you need is sugar, water, and 5 minutes to make simple syrup. It’s useful to have this sweetener on hand, especially if you’re making different iced drinks in the summer. If you can boil water, you can make simple syrup!
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What is Simple Syrup?
Simple Syrup (also called sugar syrup) is a basic sugar-and-water solution commonly used for making cocktails (or mocktails), coffee, and fruit juice.
As the name suggests, simple syrup is really simple to make at home. All you need is 2 ingredients—water and granulated sugar!
Simple Syrup vs. Sugar
You may wonder why we need to make simple syrup instead of adding sugar directly in our drinks. Simple syrup is a liquid sweetener, which is much easier to blend into cold beverages and ensures an even distribution of sweetness.
Because the sugar is already dissolved into the water, you don’t need to worry about tasting the grainy texture of sugar in your drinks or the sugar left in the bottom of the glass!
And compared to other sweeteners like honey or maple syrup, simple syrup has a neutral taste so it doesn’t overwhelm the flavor of your drink.
The Ratio of Sugar to Water
Generally, the ratio of sugar to water can range anywhere from 1:1 to 2:1. It all comes down to how rich you want your syrup to be.
Make the 1:1 simple syrup…
- If you plan to use it up in a week. It’s much more hospitable to mold and bacteria.
- If you don’t mind make it often.
Make the 2:1 simple syrup…
- If you want richer and more flavorful syrup (due to less water).
- If you don’t want to make it or use it often. The 2:1 simple syrup is much less prone to spoilage.
Weight or volume? Usually, the ratio is measured in weight, but for American recipes, volume is often used as it’s easier.
I use organic granulated cane sugar instead of regular white granulated sugar (natural cane sugar is just slightly less processed than white sugar). Therefore, my simple syrup color is golden color.
Feel free to try different sugars. Each sugar may take a different time to dissolve. If you use brown sugars such as turbinado or demerara sugar, they will result in a more complex and almost caramel-like flavor because of the molasses. The color of the syrup will be brownish and it works great with iced coffee, homemade ginger ale, and cocktails made with brown spirits.
How to Make Simple Syrup
Again, all you need is one part sugar to one part water (1:1).
- In a saucepan, combine sugar and water and cook over medium heat.
- Bring it to a boil and adjust the heat to simmer, then whisk until the sugar dissolves.
- Remove from the heat and let the syrup cool to room temperature. Store in a jar and keep it in the fridge for up to a month.
Simple Syrup Variation
You can infuse simple syrup with fresh herbs like mint, rosemary, basil, lemon thyme, and lavender. I think shiso would work too! Feeling even more adventurous? You can even flavor your syrup with spices like cinnamon sticks or vanilla.
Make A Big Batch Ahead of Time
If you know you will be using simple syrup for your iced beverages throughout the summer, I recommend making a larger batch. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a month.
Ways to Use Simple Syrup
I usually use simple syrup as a sweetener for a cocktail (mocktail), coffee, and fruit juice.
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup sugar (I use organic granulated cane sugar, hence the syrup‘s golden color; use white granulated sugar for a lighter color)
- Gather all the ingredients.
- Place ½ cup water and ½ cup sugar (equal parts*) in a saucepan. Heat over medium and whisk until the sugar dissolves completely. *Tip: It's more accurate to measure equal parts in weight than volume (although I understand it's easy to use a cup measurement). If you're using a scale to measure, click the "metric" button and use equal weight.
- Remove from the heat and let cool completely. Transfer it to an airtight container.
- Keep the simple syrup in an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Editor’s Note: The post was originally published on June 26, 2013. It’s been republished with more information and new images on July 31, 2023.