If you are new to bartending and mixology, you will soon learn that most cocktail recipes ask for syrup. And simple syrup ranks high up on that list as it creates the base for all other syrups. It is one of the essential cocktail ingredients you should have in your home bar.
It blends and mixes well with other cocktail ingredients, and it adds the necessary sweetness to balance out sour components in cocktails like the Whiskey Sour or Continental Sour. And the best thing about it is, that it is so easy to make simple syrup for your cocktails at home.
Naturally, you can also buy it in your local supermarket. But with homemade simple syrup, you can save up to 95%. Plus, you can adjust the amount of sugar that goes into it.
Simple syrup is a mix of sugar and water that allows you to bring sweetness to your drink without risking leaving grainy bits in it or having to liquefy it before mixing it with other ingredients.
If you would use plain sugar to sweeten cocktails instead, you most certainly end up with sugar granules in your beverage. And that is quite unpleasant.
And with its sweet and neutral taste, simple syrup is extremely versatile, as well. Apart from mixing it into your cocktails, you can also use it in coffee or lemonades, for cooking, and for baking.
Flavored syrups like maple will add an aroma alongside sweetness. Simple syrup will only balance your drink without affecting the taste.
The ratio of sugar and water
For making a simple syrup, you require about equal amounts of water and sugar. So, for every cup of sugar, you need one cup of water. You can alter those ratios slightly to your taste. However, too little sugar won't create the thick consistency you are after with a syrup.
If you are a sweet tooth, rich syrup is another common variant. As the name already suggests, this syrup is richer in taste and heavier in sugar. To make one, you need a ratio of two parts sugar to one part water.
Which sugar for simple syrup
When it comes to the sugar element, are plenty of options. Basically, you can make syrup from all kinds of granulated sugar. The finer the granulation, the faster the sugar resolves when heated.
But ultimately, that's only a question of how long it takes to make the syrup. You don't have to worry. Even rock sugar eventually will resolve in water. Although, I absolutely don't recommend it for simple syrup.
Best suited are refined, granulated brown or white sugar, caster sugar, cane sugar, Demerara, or Turbinado. But saying that, basic simple syrup is usually made with white granulated sugar. -It also makes sense from an economical point of view. It's inexpensive and readily available.
To make a richer syrup -for instance, Demerara syrup- you need Demerara sugar. This type of syrup is often used in tiki cocktails because it complements Rum very well.
Making your own simple syrup for cocktails
Making simple syrup for cocktails at home is so easy. You only need sugar and water. And it takes just a few minutes of cooking. So grab your sugar, water, and saucepan and get your simple syrup started.
- 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.
Flavored syrup ideas
One idea is to bring sweetness with some floral notes to your drinks and make an elderflower syrup. Butterfly pea syrup is another floral option. However, it's more about its magical color-changing properties than the floral taste. Frankly, butterfly pea has an almost neutral flavor.
Fruity creations like passion fruit syrup, pineapple syrup, or banana syrup bring delicious flavors to your drinks. And usually a little less aromatic, but with a vibrant color instead are fruit syrups made from figs or pink dragon fruit.
Also, a Prosecco syrup is something you can wow your guests with. It's an elegant genius way of incorporating the taste of the Northern Italian sparkling wine to your drinks.
Perhaps, you are looking for a more festive variant, check out my fabulous Christmas syrup based on a traditional spiked mulled-wine recipe. It contains cloves and cinnamon to give it that festive feel. An amazing syrup that also makes for a delicious Christmas Sour cocktail.