A basic ingredient you should always have on hand, simple syrup takes the guesswork out of many cocktails. If you'd rather not crush sugar cubes, then this recipe is for you.
You have probably noticed that there are a few ‘foundational’ components to making most cocktails. Usually you need a base spirit, sugar, water and fruit. These all play a role in the drink, but today let’s focus on the sugar.
I decided to include a very easy to make simple syrup sweetener recipe to give you an option for making your cocktails taste better.
Simple Syrup versus the Sugar Cube
Sugar makes a drink more drinkable! Since many cocktails use juices like lemon or lime which can be pretty overpowering, the sugar takes off the sour/bitter edge and makes for a better tasting drink.
I’ve already pointed out my personal preference in making an Old Fashioned and using a muddler to crush up the sugar cubes. But because the sugar crystals never dissolve all the way in cold liquids, it can leave a gritty residue in the drink. That’s where Simple Syrup comes in. It’s fast, easy, and leaves no residue at the bottom of the glass.
You can make it ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for weeks. This way it's there when you need it. You can even buy it in the store, but beware, many contain high fructose corn syrup rather than sugar.
What you'll need
Like the name says, simple syrup is very easy to make. It contains two ingredients:
Combined in equal parts over heat until fully dissolved. Then place the mixture in a covered container and place in the refrigerator to cool. If covered, it will stay fresh for a couple of weeks--if it lasts that long!
Tips for Success
Once you get comfortable with this basic simple syrup sweetener recipe and it’s uses, you can branch out and get more bold in your recipes. The only word of caution is that the syrup is a supporting cast member, not the star attraction. Lastly, a little goes a long way.
Which do you prefer, simple or more complex syrups?
Variation: Honey Simple Syrup
There are a few bourbon cocktails that call for a honey simple syrup. This is a very smooth and sweet syrup that stands up to a spicy rye or bourbon cocktail.
Instead of granulated sugar, use an equal amount of honey and water. Just heat over a low flame until dissolved. Let cool and store in a covered container.
Variation: Sweet and Sour Simple Syrup
If you find yourself mixing up a batch of Tiki cocktails, you will be required to add sweet and sour mix. This is simply a slight variation to simple syrup.
Just make your syrup as usual, but squeeze some fresh lime juice into it until it has a tangy taste. What could be easier?
Use this recipe when making a Blue Hawaii Tiki Cocktail.
An Easy Homemade Simple Syrup Recipe
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup water
- Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan over low heat
- Stir until brought to a low simmer and sugar is dissolved
- Allow to cool, then pour into a covered container and store in the refrigerator