Simple Syrup Recipe

Simple syrup is a staple cocktail sweetener that deserves a spot on every bartender’s shelf. After years of purchasing simple syrup at the store, I finally tried a homemade recipe – and I’ve never looked back!
simple syrup recipe


  • 1 cup of water (preferably filtered)
  • 1 cup of white granulated sugar (2 cups for a sweeter, more viscous syrup)

How to Make

I hate admitting it, but it took me several years to discover that store-bought simple syrup only comprises two essential ingredients – water and sugar.

Follow these simple steps to make simple syrup:

  1. Gather 1 cup of water (preferably filtered) and 1 cup of white granulated sugar (2 cups for rich syrup).
  2. First, bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat.
  3. Then, dissolve the sugar in the boiling water, and stir constantly.
  4. Once the sugar fully dissolves, reduce the heat, and allow the mixture to simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Remove the pot from the heat and allow the simple syrup to cool completely.
  6. Once cooled, store the mixture in a sealable jar or bottle. I like using a funnel to ensure easy pouring.
  7. Use the simple syrup in your favorite cocktail or drink recipe and store it in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.

You can also use the cold method if you don’t mind spending extra time. Add sugar to room temperature water and periodically stir over 10 to 15 minutes. The syrup works equally well but lacks the viscosity of heated syrup.

Tip: Add a tablespoon of vodka to the recipe to prolong the syrup’s shelf life.


Simple syrup is a foolproof way to add a touch of sweetness to cocktails and other beverages without the risk of granulated sugar residues. And making it from the comfort of your home is as easy as one, two, three.

As the name suggests, it requires minimal ingredients, costs, and preparation. The recipe calls for equal parts of granulated sugar and water over medium heat until all the sugar dissolves. Once cooled down, it’s ready to use or store.

Perfecting Simple Syrup Ratios

The trickiest part of making this homemade sugary syrup is perfecting the ratios.

Simple syrup comprises equal parts (1:1 ratio) of sugar and water. While 1 cup of sugar to 1 cup of water works perfectly fine, weighing the sugar and water (ounces or grams) yields more accurate results. Use 8 ounces of granulated sugar and 8 ounces of water for precise measurements.

Simple syrup is commonly used by bartenders to sweeten cocktails and other drinks. However, many cocktail enthusiasts enjoy using rich syrup as a sweeter, thicker alternative to adding extra body and mouthfeel to drinks.

Rich syrup follows the same preparation method but requires twice as much sugar as the traditional simple syrup.

Here’s a quick comparison of simple and rich syrup.

Simple Syrup vs. Rich Syrup

Here are the two primary variations of simple sugar.

  • Simple syrup: Traditional simple syrup calls for equal parts (1:1 ratio) of sugar and water. It is less sweet and has a thinner viscosity than rich syrup. Simple syrup is a perfect way to add a subtle hint of sweetness to your drinks.
  • Rich syrup: In comparison, rich syrup ups the sugar content to two parts sugar and one part water (2:1 ratio). Rich syrup is sweeter and more viscous than standard simple syrup. It will add an intensely sweet kick to cocktails and other beverages if you don’t adjust the ratios and use it sparingly.

Simple Syrup Recipe Variations

White granulated sugar or refined sugar is typically used to make simple syrup. However, once you master the basic base, you can freely experiment with other sugars.

You can experiment with brown sugar, raw sugar (demerara sugar), coconut sugar, turbinado sugar, and palm sugar.

To make simple syrup, you can also use honey, stevia, or maple syrup as alternative sweeteners. Combine equal amounts of the sweetener with water and proceed with the same steps as a traditional simple syrup. Feel free to make adjustments where necessary.

Homemade simple syrup variations are endless. Consider infusing your simple syrup with exciting flavors to add a unique taste to your cocktails, tea, coffee, and more.

Here are some of my favorite ideas:

  • Herbs: Rosemary, Mint, Basil, Lemongrass, Thyme, Tarragon
  • Flowers: Rose, Lavender, Lemon Balm, Hibiscus, Violets
  • Spices: Ginger, Cinnamon, Star Anise, Whole Cloves, Vanilla, Nutmeg
  • Fruit: Coconut, Citrus, Berries, Peaches, Pomegranate, Watermelon
  • Vegetables: Carrots, Celery, Beets
  • Booze: Rum, Vodka
  • Essential oils

Tip: Infuse your syrup when cold rather than hot to attain a fresher, brighter infusion. Strain the ingredients and aromatics before transferring the syrup into a jar.

How Long Does Simple Syrup Stay Fresh?

Simple syrup typically stays fresh for between two and three weeks. However, two methods can help lengthen the shelf life of simple sugar.

How To Prolong Simple Syrup’s Shelf Life

  1. Double up the ratio of sugar to water by making a rich syrup instead of traditional simple syrup. The additional sugar acts as a preservative that keeps the liquid fresher for longer. Rich syrup can stay fresh for up to six months before turning cloudy compared to three weeks of traditional simple syrup.
  2. Add a neutral spirit to prolong the shelf life. You will need to add between a tablespoon and an ounce of the alcohol, depending on the amount of syrup.

Cocktails With Simple Syrup

Add a splash of simple homemade syrup to cocktail recipes. My top go-to cocktails that call for simple syrup include:

  1. Mojito
  2. Daiquiri
  3. Classic Old Fashioned
  4. Bramble
  5. Tom Collins
  6. Gin Fizz
  7. Gimlet Cocktails
  8. Blood Orange Margaritas
  9. French 75
  10. Sherry Cobbler

Most cocktail recipes assume you’re using traditional simple syrup when providing measurements. So, use ¼ ounce less rich syrup than the recipe calls for when substituting simple syrup.

Other Simple Syrup Uses

If you aren’t a cocktail enthusiast but would still like to put your simple syrup to good use, consider adding it to the following drinks.

  • Lemonade
  • Tea
  • Iced Tea
  • Club Soda
  • Iced Coffee or Cold Brew Coffee


Simple syrup’s name is well-earned. Enjoy skipping a trip to the store and stirring (or shaking) a homemade batch of simple syrup in your cocktails and beverages. And remember, the variations are endless.

Ready for the next step? Become a professional bartender today

Join the best online bartending course and elevate your mixology skills to the next level. This comprehensive program, designed for aspiring bartenders, offers a dynamic learning experience with HD videos, interactive quizzes, and lifetime access. Enhance your bartending abilities and take your career to new heights with this one-of-a-kind course.

More Cocktail Recipes

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *