Sage Simple Syrup

Add some subtle herb flavor to your drinks with homemade Sage Simple Syrup. It’s perfect for fall and the holidays.

a sage leaf and a yellow spoon in a jar of sage syrup

Sage Simple Syrup recipe

Flavored simple syrup is one of my favorite ways to dress up a cocktail. You can always expect me to have a few small batches of simple syrups in my fridge.

From pumpkin spice syrup to burnt sugar syrup, syrups work especially well for cocktails for the cooler seasons.

As summer winds down, I’m craving less mint and basil and more rosemary and sage, and I knew I wanted to make this sage simple syrup to mix into some cocktails for the fall and winter months.

Sage is used most often in cooking, but its warm and sophisticated herbal flavor can be really lovely with sweet dishes and drinks.

Why you’ll love this recipe

This is going to be a recipe you will love!

  • Sage is the best flavor for cocktails and a great way to level up your creations.
  • Simple syrup is such an easy way to sweeten drinks. You only need about 5-10 minutes of hands-on time to make it.
  • It’s inexpensive to make, so you can make as often as you need.
  • When bought, you can’t control the ingredients. No corn syrup here!

This syrup is perfect to use in a sage cocktail or even to drizzle over a dessert like a sage apple crumble. It even works as ice cream toppings.

a sage leaf on top of a jar of sage simple syrup

What is simple syrup?

Simple syrup is a liquid sweetener that works really well in cold drinks. If you’ve ever tried to stir pure sugar into iced tea, you’ll know how difficult it is to get those granules to dissolve!

To solve this problem, simple syrup is an easy solution of sugar and water that is much easier to stir in.

As a bonus, it’s one of the easiest ways to add flavor to a drink. You can use fruits, vegetables, spices, herbs and different types of sugar to make flavored simple syrups.

sage leaves, water and sugar


You only need three ingredients to make sage syrup. Add these items to your shopping list to grab at the grocery store:


Use granulated sugar or cane sugar to make this easy simple syrup. This will give your syrup a clear color, which means its color won’t interfere with the color of your drink.

Honey or brown sugar can be used, but keep in mind that it will have a darker, more caramel-like color.


Use as much water as you use sugar, unless you like a thicker syrup. If you like thicker syrup, try a 2:1 or 1.5:1 sugar to water ratio.

Filtered water is my preference for mixing drinks to keep them tasting pure. (We use this Soma water pitcher.)

You can boil water first to use in your syrup to eliminate impurities. (I don’t like to boil my syrup because you lose out on water that evaporates.)

sage leaves on a white backgrouns

Fresh sage leaves

Sage is common in savory Thanksgiving recipes like biscuits and turkey, but its warm, earthy and slightly peppery flavor is lovely in drinks as well.

Sage is usually available in plastic clamshells or sometimes you can buy a whole sage plant to use in your cooking.

You’ll want to pick up fresh sage leaves at the store, or feel free to use whatever type of basil is growing in your own garden.

There are a number of types of sage, but the most common is called garden sage or common sage. Its leaves are gray-green with a soft, velveteen texture.

Dried sage will work, but keep in mind that it does lose its potency, so be sure to smell it before you use it. Use 2-3 teaspoons of dried sage in this recipe. You will need to strain out the leaves after.

Tip: Just before dropping it into your syrup infusion, hold the sage leaves in one hand and clap your other hand on top of them to “spank” them. This process helps to release the essential oils and fragrances for a more aromatic syrup.

sage leaves infusing in simple syrup

How to make Sage Simple Syrup

Your sage simple syrup will come together in just few steps:

  1. Measure equal parts sugar and water.
  2. Add them to a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir them together until combined.
  3. Remove from heat. No need to boil it!
  4. Add your sage leaves while the mixture is hot.
  5. Let the sprigs steep for 15 minutes* or until the syrup has a strong sage aroma and flavor. Discard the leaves when you’re done with them.
  6. Let the mixture cool down fully, then pour it into a mason jar and store it in the fridge or use it in drinks immediately!

*Feel free to let the sage steep longer to impart more flavor, but keep in mind that sage can be cloying when it’s too strong. A delicate flavor will have the best results.

You can follow this same recipe with other herbs, such as fennel or thyme. I have shared a number of other herb simple syrups including mint, basil and rosemary.

a jar of sage syrup with a cutting board of sage leaves

Variations and substitutions

This syrup is so good on its own, but here are some ideas for making the perfect syrup for whatever you are making!

Brown sugar sage syrup: Make this syrup with brown sugar instead of granulated for some added caramel flavor.

Lavender sage syrup: Infuse lavender flowers along with the sage to make a variation on this lavender syrup.

Honey sage syrup: Make honey syrup instead of using sugar for a more floral flavor.

Sugar-free sage syrup: Use your favorite sugar substitute to make this recipe sugar-free.

Cherry sage syrup: Add sage leaves into the mix while you cook the cherries for this cherry syrup. (It works with other fresh berries like blackberry syrup, too.)

Herbal simple syrup: Use a mixture of other types of fresh herbs such as mint, thyme, rosemary, basil or marjoram.

a sage leaf garnishing sage syrup

Sage Cocktails

Here are some of my favorite cocktails to try with your sage-infused simple syrup. The added earthy sage notes will be wonderful to sip on.

Try adding sage syrup to a classic old-fashioned cocktail. Or add a splash to this Thanksgiving old-fashioned made with cranberry sauce.

A Blackberry Sage Gin Smash is perfect for end-of-summer with fresh blackberries and herbal gin.

Make a sage julep with bourbon the same way you’d make a mint julep.

The Smoked Cherry Cocktail is a bourbon and brandy drink made with sage syrup.

Or try a Sage Bee’s Knees cocktail, made with lemon, honey and gin.

You can even use your homemade sage syrup to flavor your favorite iced tea or lemonade for a mocktail.

Dress them up with herb ice cubes with a sage leaf frozen in the middle!

Let me know in the comments below what crafty drink creations you come up with!

More simple syrup recipes

Here are some more simple syrup recipes that are perfect for this time of year!

a sage leaf and a yellow spoon in a jar of sage syrup

Sage Simple Syrup

Yield: 6 ounces
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Add some earthy, peppery flavor to your cocktails with this easy Sage Simple Syrup.
5 from 2 votes
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  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 8-10 leaves fresh sage


  • Combine sugar and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar dissolves.
  • Remove from heat. While hot, add sage leaves. Steep for 30 minutes (or longer for a deeper flavor).
  • Strain out sage leaves and discard solids. Store syrup in a glass jar or other airtight, food-safe container.

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nutrition information

Yield: 6 ounces

amount per serving:

Serving: 1ounce Calories: 64kcal Carbohydrates: 17g Protein: 0.002g Fat: 0.1g Saturated Fat: 0.002g Sodium: 1mg Potassium: 1mg Fiber: 0.003g Sugar: 17g Calcium: 1mg Iron: 0.01mg
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