Many cocktails call for the use of simple syrup in the recipe and I’ve found myself using flavored simple syrup more and more often. So I thought I’d write a post about making basic simple syrup and flavored simple syrups for cocktails. Flavored simple syrup is also perfect to add to iced tea or club soda for a non-alcoholic drink.
Basic Simple Syrup
To start, the basic simple syrup is just equal parts sugar and water. I typically use 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water but have made smaller batches with just 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water. It really doesn’t matter, just remember 1:1 ratio. Put the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring it to a boil, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. You can let it boil for a minute or so if you want, or just turn off the heat after the sugar is dissolved. Set aside the saucepan to cool. Once cooled, store simple syrup in a clean jar in the refrigerator. It couldn’t be any easier than that! It should last a couple weeks if you don’t use it all up.
Flavored Simple Syrup Made With Herbs
Simple syrup flavored with herbs is fantastic. Herbs add another level of flavor and the possibilities are nearly endless! My favorite herbs to use are basil, mint, rosemary, tarragon, and thyme. You can use whatever herb you like. Experiment! To make infused simple syrup, bring the sugar and water to a boil, then add whatever herbs you’re using. Let the herbs steep in the syrup while it’s cooling. Wondering how much herbs to use? I really don’t measure, just toss in a handful, it’s not rocket science so you don’t need to worry about being precise. Rosemary is strong so a couple sprigs or so is fine. You don’t need to take the needles off the stem. Same with thyme. And even tarragon, I just add a few whole stems to the sugar water. When I make mint simple syrup I like a mintier flavor so I tend to add more, around 1/4-1/2 cup roughly chopped. Same with basil. Once the syrup has cooled, strain the syrup through a fine mesh strainer into a clean jar and toss out the herbs. Store in syrup in refrigerator.
You’ll find a few recipes here on the blog that use herb infused simple syrup. I used basil simple syrup in my Basil Lime Martini. I didn’t use it in my Cucumber Basil-tini but next time I make it I will…and take new photos! The Watermelon Margarita has mint simple syrup. I used a rosemary simple syrup in my Grapefruit St. Germain Martini, and Caramelized Pear-tini and a thyme simple syrup in my Nectarine Thyme-tini.
Flavored Simple Syrup Made With Fruit
You may be wondering why you’d want to infuse the syrup with fruit when you could just muddle or blend the fruit to use in your cocktail. You could certainly do that and it would be perfectly fine and delicious. But sometimes you may not want all the pulp or seeds in your drink, or the fruit might not be as sweet as you’d like (think rhubarb) so this is where simple syrup infused with fruit comes in handy. Again, it’s just like making basic simple syrup but you add fruit to the sugar and water. To make fruit infused simple syrup you need to cook down the fruit. After adding the fruit to the sugar/water, I let it simmer on a lower heat on the stove for about 15 minutes or so, until it looks like the fruit has broken down and is mushy. Then let it cool, strain through a fine mesh strainer and store in refrigerator. *Taste your fruit first and if it’s pretty sweet, I’d cut the sugar down to 1/2 cup*
If you want to be really fancy, try making a fruit and herb infused simple syrup. I used blackberries and tarragon in my Blackberry Fizz cocktail and it was really fantastic. I’ve got a strawberry rhubarb mint one coming up.
As I said, the possibilities are endless. Want some ginger flavor? Add some fresh (peeled) ginger to the sugar/water. How about lemongrass? No problem, chop up some lemongrass and add it in there. I’ve even made a peanut butter simple syrup for my Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Martini. See, I told you the possibilities are endless!
If you come up with some delicious tasting simply syrups, please let me know in the comments below or on my Facebook page.
- 1 Cup Water
- 1 Cup Sugar
- For herb infused add:
- Handful of herbs of your choice: basil, rosemary, thyme, mint, tarragon, etc.
- For fruit infused add:
- 1 Cup fruit of your choice: blackberries, rhubarb, strawberries, blueberries, etc.
- Bring sugar and water to a boil in saucepan. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Add desired herbs and let steep in syrup until cool, then strain and store in refrigerator.
- Add fruit to sugar/water and lower heat to simmer for about 10 minutes until fruit breaks down and gets mushy. Then strain and store in refrigerator. (if your fruit is pretty sweet already you can cut back on the amount of sugar added)