How to Make Simple Syrup for Cocktails (or Coffee)

How to Make Simple Syrup for Cocktails (or Coffee)

Edd Siu

Sweetness is a building block in cocktails that helps enhance and balance a drink. If there's an acidic component in the cocktail, sweetness will balance the acidity—thus, elevating and adding dimension to a cocktail.

It's very simple in ingredients and preparation.

In this guide, you'll learn 2 ways to make simple syrup:

What is simple syrup?

Simple syrup is equal parts granulated sugar dissolved in equal parts water. Some will refer to this as a 1:1 (one to one) syrup.

Simple syrup is the standard sweetener in a vast majority of cocktail recipes. It's easy to measure out and easy to dissolve. Always use "simple" instead of granulated sugar.

Use it in cocktails, iced tea, cold brew, etc.

Some recipes will call for rich simple syrup, a ratio of 2:1 (sugar to water).

Sidenote: Granulated sugar is the same as ordinary table sugar from the supermarket.

Why use simple syrup for drinks?

Simple syrup will dissolve quickly into a drink. Have you ever tried to dissolve granulated sugar into, for example, an Old Fashioned, latte, or your cold brew?

Even after stirring for a bit, some sugar will remain undissolved in your drink.

Notes

  • Basic simple syrup is so easy to make, there's no reason you should be buying pre-made simple syrup with artificial preservatives.
  • Why would you pay $10 for something so stupid-easy that will cost you less than $1 to make?
  • Most importantly, using store-bought simple syrup is bad form!

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The Simple Way to Make Simple Syrup From Scratch


Ingredients

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water

Preparation

1️⃣ In a measuring cup, dose one leveled cup of sugar and add it to a blender or food processor.

measuring sugar
level sugar in cup
Make sure to level the sugar to the 1 cup mark.
adding sugar to blender

2️⃣ Measure one cup of drinking water then add it to your food processor.

adding water to measuring cup
adding water to blender

3️⃣ Blend until thoroughly dissolved.

blending sugar and water together

4️⃣ Pour into a storage container.

pour simple syrup into container

5️⃣ Your simple syrup is now ready to use immediately.

container with label
Label your container along with the date you made it. It helps keep track of its expiration time.

• Preferably, let the bubbles settle for a few minutes before making drinks.

• You may also use powdered sugar (aka confectioners sugar) in this recipe. It will dissolve a lot quicker, but it's more expensive.

cocktail jigger

Here's the ideal way of making simple syrup...

Ideally, you should measure the mass, not the volume, of both the sugar and water.

Using a scale to do this is the best way to ensure consistency—this ensures repeatable results.


Making Simple Syrup By Measuring Mass (Ideal Way)


Ingredients

300 g granulated sugar
300 g water

Preparation

1️⃣ Place a container (like a cocktail shaker or a large measuring cup) over a kitchen scale.

container over kitchen scale

2️⃣ Measure 300 g of granulated white sugar.

measuring sugar by mass

3️⃣ Add the measured sugar into a blender or food processor.

adding sugar to blender

4️⃣ Put the same container over the scale again, measure 300g of drinking water. Pour into blender.

measuring water
adding water to container

5️⃣ Blend until the mixture dissolves.

blending water and sugar together

6️⃣ You will have some air bubbles in the now simple syrup. Let it rest for a few minutes before using it.

air bubbles in mixture

7️⃣ Funnel and store in a container.

storing sugar in container

Remember to label and date your container.

simple syrup ready to use

If you don't have a blender...

  1. In a kettle and or saucepan, add 2 cups of water and bring to a slight boil.
  2. Meanwhile, in a measuring cup, dose 1 cup of sugar.
  3. Grab another saucepan or large container, and add the measured sugar into it.
  4. Wait until the water gets hot, (you don't need it boiling, just hot enough to dissolve the sugar easily).
  5. Once hot, measure one cup of hot water into the measuring cup.
  6. Add this hot water to the sugar and stir until dissolved.

Notes

  • Wait until simple syrup cools before using.
  • Do not put it in the fridge while still hot.
  • Adding the water and sugar then boiling it is not ideal since some water will evaporate, and you won't have a proper 1:1 ratio.

How to make rich simple syrup

Some drink recipes will call for rich simple syrup. This means the solution is a 2:1 ratio of sugar to water—aka "two to one syrup".

So to make rich simple syrup from scratch, you measure for example, 400g of sugar combined with 200g of water.

Rich simple syrup will obviously be sweeter than a 1:1 simple syrup, it will also have more viscosity. This will add a thicker mouthfeel to your drink.

How to store simple syrup?

I like to store syrups in round amber Boston glass containers. They are compact, easy to handle, and look great—but most importantly, you can attach a pour spout.

I recommend you get at least 2 of these to store other syrups and miscellaneous liquids. But any glass jar with a lid will do.

How long does simple syrup last?

You should always refrigerate simple syrup. It will extend its shelf life.

For storing, keep these points as a rule of thumb:

  • Simple syrup will last 1 week in the fridge.
  • If you want it to last longer, add one tablespoon of a neutral high-proof alcohol (like Everclear) or vodka—it will last a month.
  • Rich simple will last longer than 1:1 simple because there's less water. Assume it's shelf life, refrigerated, to be 1 month.

The More You Know 💫

Learn how to make Madagascar vanilla and lavender simple syrup, loose-leaf tea based syrups,  and bourbon-maple syrup in the Home Barista Class.


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