If you are new to bartending and making cocktails, you will soon learn that most cocktail recipes ask for syrup. And simple syrup ranks high up on the list. 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 a slight sweetness that balances out sour components in cocktails like the Whiskey Sour or Continental Sour. Plus, it is so easy to make simple syrup for your cocktails at home.
Yes, you can also buy it in your local supermarket. But even if you choose the cheapest option, you probably spend $5 or more on a single bottle. If you make your simple syrup yourself, you can save up to 95% on this. So read on, learn what simple syrup is and how you can easily make it at home.
What is simple syrup?
Simple syrup is a simple mix of sugar and water that allows you to use sugar without having to liquify it before mixing it with other ingredients. If you would use raw sugar to sweeten drinks or cocktails instead, you often end up with bits of granulated sugar in your beverage. That is quite unpleasant. So why risk this if you can just use a syrup?
And simple syrup is used a lot, in cocktails but also in coffee or lemonades. The reason for this is its sweet but neutral taste. Flavored syrups like maple will always 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, a mix of equal amounts of water and sugar is required. So for every cup of sugar, you also need one cup of water. If you are a sweet tooth, then rich syrup is another common syrup variant. As the name already suggests, this syrup is richer in taste. To make one, you need a ratio of two parts sugar to one part water.
When it comes to the sugar components, are plenty of options, depending on the respective syrup recipes. A typical simple syrup is made with white granulated sugar. To make a richer syrup, like Demerara syrup, you need Demerara sugar. The latter is typically 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.
Adding some flavor
If you want to try different flavors in your syrup, you can use the same technique as described above. You can make all kinds of syrups like this: Try out citrus syrups by adding some citrus zests while boiling or add herbs or fruits when the simple syrup is cooling down to get a herbal syrup. Once you get started, you will realize that there are endless opportunities.
If, 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.
And to get a better idea of how easy it is to make a flavored syrup with hibiscus, check out the following recipe. The ratios of sugar and water stay the same. You only need to add hibiscus petals. The steps are basically the same as for the simple syrup. Try it and let me know in the comments how you like it.
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup hibiscus petals (dried or fresh)
Heat the water and sugar mixture to a boil, take it off the heat and the hibiscus petals. Now let the whole thing steep for 10 to 15 minutes and fill it into an airtight container. Most of you probably don’t want to have the petals in your drinks, so strain them out when filling the syrup into the container.