I’ve been making a ton of cocktails lately and most of them have at least some kind of simple syrup addition. I figured it was about time to share a little how-to post about simple syrup.
Simple syrup adds just that little (or lot) of sweetness to a drink, balances flavors, and takes some of the bitterness away from the alcohol.
It’s so easy to make and you can customize it to any flavor profile that you like.
Recently, I’ve made salted watermelon simple syrup which turned out amazing! I didn’t realize that just a little bit of salt added to the syrup would add so much more watermelon flavor.
Then I went ahead and made two different cocktails with the salted watermelon syrup immediately – haha! – salted watermelon margarita and a salted watermelon gin-tini. Oh so good! Plus pink drinks are just super fun, too.
I’ve also made some syrups with fresh herbs and so many different fresh fruit syrups.
Simple syrup is exactly that – simple. You just heat equal parts water and sugar in a small saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and let cool completely before transferring to an airtight jar or container and store in the fridge.
If I’m in a hurry and forget to make a syrup the night before, I stick it in the freezer for about 30 minutes to cool quicker and I can make the drink quicker.
Fruit Simple Syrups
Using this same formula you can make any flavor simple syrup that you want. For fruit syrups take the same equal parts sugar and water – I usually do 1 cup to 1 cup – then add an equal part of fresh or frozen fruit – so another 1 cup.
Heat it over medium heat while mashing the fruit with the end of a wooden spoon or drink muddler. Whisk and simmer on low for about 15 minutes to really infuse the flavors.
Then let cool and strain through a fine mesh strainer into your airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.
For the salted watermelon syrup, just after removing it from the heat, I added 1 tsp salt and stirred it together. Then I let it cool and strained it into the container.
It turned out a beautiful red color and had just enough saltiness to enhance the watermelon flavor but without being salty – if that makes sense?
Herb Infused Syrups
Finally, for herb infused syrups use the same 1-1 cup ratio with sugar and water and simmer until the sugar is dissolved. Remove the mix from the heat and add 2-4 sprigs of fresh herbs – rosemary, thyme, basil, etc.
Cover the pot and let it steep for 15 minutes. After the 15 minutes, remove the herb sprigs and strain the liquid into your container. Straining just makes sure to get out any pieces that may have fallen off the herb sprigs and you have a smooth syrup.
One you have your syrup made it’ll store for up to 4 months in the refrigerator. When I make them it usually lasts about 3 months of drink making before I need to make another batch.
Assuming you use .5 – 1 oz of syrup per drink, that is. Unless I’m making a big batch cocktail – like this blackberry rum punch – then it’s a shorter time.
Have fun with syrups and you can transform your drinks into just about any flavor profile you want!
How to Make Simple Syrup
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup watermelon cubed
- 1 tsp salt
- In a small saucepan add sugar and water.
- Heat over medium heat, stirring often, until the sugar dissolves.
- Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
- Store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 1 month.
- In a small saucepan add sugar, water, and watermelon chunks. Crush watermelon with a spoon while heating mixture over medium heat.
- Let cook, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes to truly infuse the watermelon flavor.
- Remove from heat and add 1 tsp salt and stir to combine. Let cool completely before straining solids from the liquid and storing in sir-tight container.
- In a small saucepan add sugar, water, and fresh blackberries. Crush blackberries with a spoon while heating mixture over medium heat.
- Let cook, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes.
- Remove from heat and let cool completely before straining solids from the liquid and storing in sir-tight container.
- Add some fresh herbs (mint, thyme, lavender, rosemary, etc.), whole spices (cinnamon, cloves, or nutmeg), or citrus zest (orange, grapefruit, lemon, lime) to the sugar/water mixture before warming.
- Bring to slow simmer and simmer for 10 minutes until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and let steep for 15 minutes.
- Remove herbs, spices, or citrus from pot and let syrup cool completely. Straining into air-tight container.