How to Make Simple Syrup for Cocktails

By Timo Torner / Last updated on February 23, 2023

Simple syrup is one of the essential ingredients in cocktails. It's easy to make at home and a great option to sweeten other beverages like coffee, lemonade, etc., as well.
Homemade simple syrup for cocktails in bowl

If you are new to bartending and mixology, you will soon learn that most cocktail recipes ask for syrup. The vast majority will ask for simple syrup, making it one of the most used ingredients in cocktails.

But instead of heading to the store and buying a bottle of this staple sweetener, you can easily make it at home. After all, this syrup is just sugar dissolved in water. Plus, you can save up to 95%.

Jump to Recipe | The right ratio | How to make simple syrup | Variations | Flavored Syrups | FAQs

The right Ratio of Sugar & Water

The standard recipe for simple syrup uses one part sugar to one part water (1:1). White granulated sugar is a common choice. But you can also experiment with others like cane, brown, or Demerara sugar.

Rich Simple Syrup

The most common simple syrup variation is called rich simple syrup. Instead of equal amounts, this recipe requires two parts sugar per one part water (2:1).

A rich syrup is thicker in consistency and also sweeter. It is often used to get a richer body in drinks, also creating a better mouthfeel. The process is the same as for regular syrup.

How to make Simple syrup

The most elaborate part about making your own simple syrup is measuring the ingredients and bottling the final syrup. 

1. Measure - We need equal parts of water and sugar. If you measure with cups, use a liquid cup for water and a dry cup for the sugar. A more precise way is to measure both ingredients by weight.

2. Heat and Dissolve - You can heat the water first and then add sugar or add the sugar straight away. The difference is minimal. Stir while the mix slowly warms up to speed up the dissolving process. 

3. Cool Down & Bottling - Once the sugar is dissolved, remove the saucepan from the heat and let the mixture cool down. Once it reaches room temperature, bottle it in sterilized glass bottles. Use a small funnel to make the process easier.

Sugar simple syrup in bowl on table

Variations on the recipe

Homemade simple syrup can easily be infused with a variety of ingredients. You can get creative and make all kinds of floral, fruity, spicy, or herbal syrups.

You can also use another sweetener as the base of your syrup. Use honey or brown sugar, or go sugar-free with stevia.  

Making Flavored syrups

You can make flavored syrups of all sorts. Classics like Orgeat and Falernum (this can be alcoholic, too) are a staple in every cocktail bar. But there is plenty of options and room to get creative. 

Here are some ideas for your next flavor syrups:

Homemade simple syrup for cocktails in bowl

Simple Syrup

An easy to make syrup for cocktails.
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Resting: 1 hour
Course: Syrup
Cuisine: Asian
Keyword: syrup
Calories: 50kcal


  • 1 cup Water
  • 1 cup Sugar


  • Add sugar and water to a small saucepan. Turn the heat to medium and stir the mixture while bringing it to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to a simmer. For getting a nice and smooth syrup, the sugar has to dissolve completely in the water. That usually will take a few minutes.
  • Once the sugar is fully dissolved, remove the saucepan from the heat and let it cool down completely.
  • When the syrup is cold, pour it into your container and put it in the fridge. And that is already it. Your syrup is done and will usually last around 3-4 weeks.


Serving: 1oz | Calories: 50kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Sugar: 14g
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does simple syrup last?

When properly sealed and refrigerated, it lasts 2-3 weeks. By adding a shot of Vodka, you can extend shelf life to 4-5 weeks.

Can you freeze simple syrup?

Yes, you can freeze a standard 1:1 simple syrup. But if you do and want to use it, plan enough time to thaw it.

Are there other ways to use simple syrup than cocktails?

Yes, you can use this syrup for desserts, to sweeten coffee, tea, and even lemonade.

Why is simple syrup used in cocktails?

Simple syrup is a liquid sweetener made by dissolving sugar in water. It brings sweetness to cocktails and balances the tart and acidic flavors of fresh lime or lemon juice.

What syrup do bartenders use?

Bartenders use all kinds of syrups. The most common ones are simple syrup (1:1 ratio) and rich syrup (2:1 ratio).

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