The Best Simple Syrups

Once you know how to make simple syrup, your cocktails will never be the same. Learn how to make this easy cocktail sweetener and 25+ flavored simple syrup recipes.

several jars of different color simple syrups

Cocktail syrup is an easy-to-make ingredient that not only sweetens drinks, but adds flavor as well. Syrups can be bought, but making them is so much better.

In this guide, you’ll not only find out why you should make your own, but more than 25 simple syrup recipes that will create delicious results — and drinks.

What is simple syrup?

Made from sugar and water, simple syrup is a liquid sweetener that is used to add flavor to drinks.

Not only does it work in cocktails, but it can be used to sweeten iced tea and iced coffee. It works especially well in cold drinks, where sugar won’t dissolve easily.

While simple syrup is most often used in drinks, it can also be drizzled over baked goods, ice cream or pancakes. Bakers even use it to add moisture to cakes before decorating.

Why you should make simple syrup

Though store-bought simple syrup is readily available, making it yourself is so much better — and much less expensive.

A bottle of simple syrup can run you anywhere from $8-20 depending on the brand, but if you make it yourself? It costs less than a bag of sugar.

Not to mention the fact that when you make your own simple syrup recipes, you can control what goes in them. No preservatives or corn syrup here!

Plus, you can flavor it with all kinds of fruits, spices and herbs as well as make it with different kinds of sugar.

a cup of sugar and a cup of water

The best cocktail syrup ratio

When it comes to simple syrup, you can have a lot of fun with ratios, which affects the consistency and therefore the sweetness.

The most common simple syrup ratio is 1:1, meaning that you should use as much water as you use sugar.

The 1:1 ratio a similar consistency to water, so a little bit goes a long way in sweetening your drink without diluting it.

Also, if you boil a 1:1 ratio, some of the water will evaporate, resulting in a thicker consistency. But you technically don’t have to boil water to make syrup.

Rich simple syrup recipes

You can make a thicker, sweeter consistency of this recipe called, “rich syrup.”

The benefits are that it won’t cause as much dilution. In other words, when mixing drinks, you can use a little less because it is so much sweeter.

Either a 1.5:1 ratio or a 2:1 ratio of sugar to water will make a more viscous mixture.

The thicker consistency helps it to keep longer than a month because the sugar acts as a preservative.

a hand holding a spoon dripping strawberry simple syrup into a jar

How to make simple syrup

This basic simple syrup recipe is very customizable. It’s a blank slate for zillions of flavor combinations. For example, grenadine is a common variation that shows up in lots of cocktail recipes like the Dirty Shirley.

The recipe is very easy, and once you’ve made it a few times, you’ll be ready to whip up your own creations.

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir together sugar and water until dissolved.
  2. Bring to a boil for 2 minutes, then remove from heat. Let cool completely.
  3. Transfer to a glass jar and seal tightly with a lid. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. 

How to flavor simple syrup

Experimenting with infusions is one of my favorite ways to mix different flavors into my drinks. You can use most fruits, herbs and spices as infusions in the classic simple syrup recipe. Try making up your own combinations.

Whole spices: Add whole spices, such as cardamom pods or cinnamon sticks, to the water and sugar as they heat up and the sugar dissolves. Let them infuse for 20-30 minutes after you remove it from the heat, then remove the whole spices before storing.

Extracts: You can stir a teaspoon of extract, like vanilla or lemon, into a finished syrup to give it a quick and easy flavor.

Fresh herbs: A few sprigs of herbs will give your cocktails tons of fresh flavor. Try adding mint, thyme or sage to your syrup while it’s warm. Let them infuse for 20-30 minutes after you remove it from the heat, then remove the herbs before storing.

Fruit: Fresh and frozen fruit can be used to make simple syrup. I prefer to heat the fruit and water together first, letting the fruit come to a boil. Then, I strain out the fruit solids and stir the sugar into the liquid while the mixture is still warm.

Vegetables: Yes, you can make simple syrup with veggies too! Jalapeño simple syrup is one of my favorites for spicy cocktails and pumpkin puree is the base for my pumpkin spice syrup for pumpkin spice lattes.

Sugars: It’s easy to change up the flavor by simply mixing up the sugar source. White sugar is my go-to for clear syrups (and ones where the color is important). But brown sugar works just as well. You can even use honey!

The best cocktail syrup recipes

Now let’s dig into the best recipes for simple syrup. These are some of the best simple syrup recipes out there that every home bartender needs to know.

clear simple syrup in a hexagonal jar

Simple Syrup

Yield: 1 cup
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Simple syrup is an easy-to-make ingredient that's used in hundreds of cocktail recipes. Every aspiring bartender should know how to make a basic simple syrup!

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup water

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir together sugar and water until dissolved.
  2. Bring to a boil for 2 minutes, then remove from heat. Let cool completely.
  3. Transfer to a glass jar and seal tightly with a lid. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. 

Notes

You can use other kinds of sugar such as demerara, raw cane sugar, brown sugar. You can also add infusions such as mint, basil, cinnamon, vanilla, citrus zest — the pantry is your oyster here!

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As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1 ounce
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 97Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 0gSugar: 25gProtein: 0g

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