How to Make Simple Syrup

How ToCocktail

Homemade Simple Syrup can be used in cocktails, iced coffee, lemonade, and iced tea. You can also add flavorings to it, and it'll keep in the fridge for a month!

Photography Credit: Sally Vargas

It’s five o’clock somewhere! Simple syrup is made from just two ingredients—sugar and water—and it’s the thing to have around when it’s cocktail time. You can buy simple syrup, of course, but it’s so much easier and cheaper to make it yourself.

What Cocktails Can You Make With Simple Syrup?

There are so many! You can use simple syrup in whiskey sours, mojitos, daiquiris, and even margaritas (made from scratch, without the mix).

how to make simple syrup for iced coffee

What Non-Alcoholic Drinks Can You Make with Simple Syrup?

Once you have a bottle of simple syrup in the fridge, you’ll find so many uses for it. Iced coffee is my special pick-me-up on a sleepy afternoon. (I never put sugar in my coffee, but iced coffee with a little sugar is almost like ice cream!) A few drops of this syrup in my glass give me the boost I am craving.

Simple syrup is also great in homemade iced tea and lemonade!

Other Ways to Use Simple Syrup 

How about that bowl of strawberries or a citrus salad? Simple syrup is the key to making a quick dessert, since there’s no waiting for the sugar to dissolve. Add some whipped cream and boom – you’re in business.

Flavored simple syrups

Can You Make Flavored Simple Syrup?

Yes, you can! Flavored syrups are fun as well. Here are a few flavoring options:

  • Cinnamon: Add a few sticks of cinnamon to the syrup when it’s hot, and let steep for a few hours or overnight. Strain and store.
  • Herbal syrup: Springs of rosemary, lemon thyme, lemon verbena, sage, mint, and/or lemon balm leaves all make wonderful additions to simple syrup. Add a small handful of the fresh herbs to the hot syrup, steep for about 30 minutes, then strain and store.
  • Vanilla syrup: Add a split vanilla bean to the simmering syrup. Let the vanilla bean cool in the syrup. Strain and store.
  • Ginger syrup: Cut slices from a 3-inch piece of ginger root and add to the simmering syrup. Let the ginger slices cool in the syrup. Strain and store.
  • Honey or Demerara (raw) sugar: Use the same 1 to 1 one formula of honey or sugar to water. Honey offers a light floral quality while demerara sugar (partially refined light brown cane sugar) brings a deeper, richer note than a syrup made with granulated sugar.

Use Simple Syrup in These Recipes:

How to Make Simple Syrup

  • Prep time: 2 minutes
  • Cook time: 2 minutes
  • Yield: 1 1/2 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar

Method

1 Dissolve the sugar: In a saucepan over medium heat, stir the water and sugar together. Bring to a boil and adjust the heat to a simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the sugar is dissolved.

Simmer sugar and water in a pan to make simple syrupLet simple syrup cook in a pot

2 Remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool completely.

3 Store the syrup: Pour the syrup into a glass jar or bottle, and refrigerate until needed. The syrup will last for about 1 month in the refrigerator and almost indefinitely in the freezer.

Pour simple syrup through funnel and into a bottle

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Sally Vargas

Sally Pasley Vargas is a freelance writer and the author of three cookbooks (Food for Friends, The Tao of Cooking, Ten Speed Press, and The Cranberry Cookbook). She currently writes the column The Confident Cook for The Boston Globe along with seasonal recipes for the Wednesday Food Section.

More from Sally

3 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Nancy

    Can simple syrup be made with stevia or any other 0- calorie sweetener?

    Show Replies (1)
  2. Kevin

    I add a little corn syrup to help prevent crystallization. Seems to help.

Flavored simple syrupsHow to Make Simple Syrup