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.
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.
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.
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.
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir together sugar and water until dissolved.
- Bring to a boil for 2 minutes, then remove from heat. Let cool completely.
- 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.
Make your own sugar free simple syrup with Stevia.
Fresh mint simple syrup adds a touch of summertime to drinks and desserts.
Cinnamon simple syrup is an easy-to-make sweetener for cocktails and coffee drinks.
Add ginger flavor to your cocktails, drinks and desserts with this simple recipe.
Make honey simple syrup AKA runny honey for an easy sweetener for cocktails, iced coffee and iced tea. This versatile syrup is both simple and delicious.
Tart cherries make a tasty addition to drinks and desserts with this easy syrup recipe.
Sweeten your coffee, tea and cocktails with this easy, 3-ingredient vanilla simple syrup. It's easy to double if needed!
Made with real blueberries, blueberry syrup is the most delicious addition to cocktails, drinks and desserts!
Prickly pear syrup is bright, colorful and the perfect addition to drinks and desserts.
Raspberry Simple Syrup brings the luxurious flavor of raspberries to drinks and desserts.
Infuse fresh strawberry flavor into your cocktails and desserts with homemade Strawberry Simple Syrup.
Use demerara simple syrup to sweeten coffee, tea and cocktails. This liquid sweetener carries notes of caramel and molasses flavor.
Brown Sugar Simple Syrup is fantastic in coffee and tea drinks as well as cocktails.
Sweeten your summer drinks with Peach Simple Syrup or drizzle it over pancakes, ice cream and desserts.
Homemade Chocolate Syrup is easy to make with just 5 ingredients. It is essentially a simple syrup with cocoa powder, vanilla and salt, but it works wonders as an ice cream topping too!
Make Blackberry Simple Syrup for cocktails, tea drinks, lemonade and more. It's a great way to infuse fresh fruit flavor into your beverages.
This dairy-free caramel simple syrup is delicious when stirred into cocktails and coffee drinks.
Sweet and spicy, this jalapeño syrup will add a kick to your cocktails.
Burnt Sugar Syrup brings a bittersweet, burnt flavor to cocktails and drinks. You can stir it into coffee or pour it over ice cream.
Spruce up your drinks with this easy rosemary simple syrup made with fresh herbs.
Fresh and summer, this basil simple syrup is a lovely way to dress up drinks and desserts.
Add some earthy, peppery flavor to your cocktails with this easy Sage Simple Syrup.
Made with real lavender flowers, this Lavender Simple Syrup is fragrant, delicious and the perfect addition to tea, cocktails, coffee and lemonade.
Learn how to make grenadine syrup, a common cocktail ingredient made with pomegranate juice.
Filled with antioxidants, elderberry syrup is delicious on its own, mixed into cocktails and spooned over ice cream.
Pumpkin spice syrup is the secret to making fall-spiced coffee drinks and cocktails at home.
Fennel Simple Syrup
If you like licorice flavors, you'll love this subtly fennel simple syrup.
Homemade Strawberry Rhubarb Simple Syrup
This simple syrup is made with fresh strawberries and rhubarb! Perfect for springtime.
Coconut Lime Simple Syrup
Coconut and lime make for a tasty syrup you can use in tropical cocktails.
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!
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup water
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir together sugar and water until dissolved.
- Remove from heat. Let cool completely.
- Transfer to a glass jar and seal tightly with a lid.
- Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
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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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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