Simple Syrup is the perfect sweetener for cocktails and other recipes that call for a smooth sweetener without the graininess of sugar granules. Sweeten hot or cold drink recipes with this basic recipe or try some variations with a flavored simple syrup.
Simple syrup is a mixture of granulated sugar and water, in a specific ratio, heated until the sugar dissolves.
This base syrup recipe can be flavored in many different ways, from using spices to fruits, to herbs or extracts. Check out my Gingerbread Syrup for an example.
My homemade simple syrup recipe can be used in hot or cold drink recipes such as cocktails like my Strawberry Lemonade Vodka Cocktail, my Thai Inspired Vodka Cocktail, Iced Tea, Lemonade, and even iced coffee drinks like my Iced Coffee with Instant Coffee or Iced Caramel Lattes.
The benefit of using simple syrup in a cocktail instead of granulated sugar is that the syrup is smooth and doesn't have sugar crystals. This makes it great for use in cold drinks, where sugar is harder to dissolve. This recipe can be premade and ready to go, chilling in the fridge.
This recipe really is as easy as its name - just heat granulated sugar and water together for a few minutes and you're done. You can even take a shortcut and add boiled water from a kettle to a bowl with sugar, then whisk together until the sugar dissolves.
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- Sugar - white granulated sugar for this recipe.
- Water - the same amount of water as sugar for this recipe, making it a 1:1 ratio.
Try my brown sugar simple syrup.
Recipe Note: In these photos, I am using Mexican standard sugar, which has a different color. If you are using white granulated sugar, your syrup will be clear, like the below photo.
Simple Syrup Ratio
Simple syrup is made in ratios of sugar to water. The two most common ratios are 1:1 and 2:1 (that means 2 parts sugar to 1 part water, or 2 cups of sugar to 1 cup of water.)
When to use a 1:1 ratio of simple syrup - Any cocktail or coffee drink that requires liquid sweetener.
When to use a 2:1 ratio of simple syrup - When you want a sweeter sweetener, with more body that won't 'water down' the recipe you're adding it to.
- Measure the water. Add one cup of water and one cup of sugar to a small pan.
- Mix. Whisk together.
- Cook. Heat the water and sugar together over medium heat just until the sugar dissolves. It's not necessary to boil the mixture. Simmer for 3-4 minutes, whisking often.
Let the syrup cool and then it's ready for use in your cocktail recipes.
For a 1:1 ratio, store it in the fridge for about 2 weeks or so. If any mold develops on top, throw the batch out and start again. It's a good thing this is a cheap recipe.
For a 2:1 ratio, you can store it in the fridge for 2-4 weeks. Again, keep an eye on it and toss it if it looks or smells sketchy.
I use a small pot or pan to heat the sugar and water together, a whisk to stir, and then I usually store it in a mason jar with a lid or a cute syrup jar. I'll link everything below for you to check out.
- Caramel - I make this one by adding some caramel and vanilla extracts. Add the extracts once the mixture is off of the heat. I use this in coffee recipes for a caramel flavor.
- Brown Sugar - Brown sugar simple syrup also has a caramel/butterscotch flavor perfect for coffee drinks.
What to use simple syrup in
Simple syrup is equal amounts of water and granulated sugar heated until the sugar dissolves into the water and the mixture becomes smooth.
Chances are a drink recipe called for it and that's why you need to make it. You'll need simple syrup in cases where you want a smooth sweetener but don't want the feel of grains of sugar - such as a cocktail.
Yes! Simply swap out the white granulated sugar for brown sugar.
- 1 cup granulated white sugar
- 1 cup water
- Combine sugar and water in a small pot. Whisk together.
- Heat over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, let simmer 3 or 4 minutes or until sugar is dissolved.
- Let cool and then store in the fridge
Nutritional information is an estimate. Values vary based on products used.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you.
This post was originally posted on July 8, 2016. Updated December 3, 2021, to provide clearer recipe information, new photos, a video, and nutritional information. The recipe has not changed.
Save this image to your cocktails board on Pinterest.
Note on Photography: I try to improve my photography with every photo I take. I like to update older posts with newer photos as I've done for this recipe. I've kept one of the old photos below to remind myself of the progress I've made over 5 years.