Simple Syrup is an essential ingredient if you want to make your own cocktails at home. You may have seen it on the supermarket shelves or online, usually a colourless liquid in bottles of around 70ml. And while is it easy to buy a bottle, it is actually much quicker (and cheaper) to make your own.
Here I’ll show you how.
The beauty of simple syrup is in its simplicity. There are only 2 ingredients: sugar and water. It is effectively sugar water.
The sweetener, usually white granulated sugar, is dissolved in water in a ratio of 1:1. This liquid sugar blends more easily with the other liquid ingredients in your cocktail, balancing out any sour element in your drink to create complexity and a more interesting drink.
White granulated sugar is commonly used as it is readily available, dissolves easily and quickly and creates a colourless syrup. But you can use other sugars. Light brown sugar makes for a honeyed flavour with a hint of toffee. Try it with any cocktail with Calvados or apple in.
Once you have had a go at making your own simple syrup I guarantee you will start experimenting with other flavours. Herbs, spices and citrus all make lovely syrups. They are very easy to make by a process of infusion. Simply add the herb, spice or citrus zest to the sugar syrup when it is warm and leave it to cool.
Fruit and vegetables also can be juiced to make flavoured syrups, replacing the water with the juice. Combine flavours and if you are stuck then take a look at some of my recipes for flavoured syrups.
Rich Simple Syrup
Rich simple syrup is made with a ratio of 2:1. Thicker, more viscous and sweeter than simple syrup, in today’s more health-conscious world it is probably not the best option.
How to Make Simple Syrup
The easiest way to make the syrup is to measure the only 2 ingredients by volume. i.e. a cup measurement. The typical cup measurement is 240ml by volume.
Alternatively, weigh each of the ingredients for a more accurate measurement.
- Whichever method you are using measure the sugar and water and place in a pan.
- Heat gently until the sugar crystals dissolve, stirring occasionally.
- There is no need to boil the liquid. In fact, this will alter the viscosity of the syrup as some of the water will evaporate. It is preferable to only use as much heat as necessary to dissolve the sugar.
- Leave the syrup to cool.
- Pour into a sterilised bottle.
- It will keep in the fridge for a few weeks.
- Now for the fun bit. Get experimenting!