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Simple Syrup

How to make your own simple syrup for tea and cocktails
Casey Barber
Cook Time:
15 mins
Prep Time:
5 mins

Chef notes

What has just two ingredients and seemingly endless uses? You guessed it — simple syrup. It’s probably the most aptly named recipe in the world. It’s made with equal parts sugar and water, so it’s pretty much impossible to mess up. As soon as you make it once, you’ll be able to make it time and time again, even without a recipe. 

Simple syrup is made by boiling sugar and water together until the sugar dissolves. It is most typically used to sweeten cocktails and mocktails of all kinds, but it can be used for so many other applications. Use it to sweeten a cup of coffee or tea (hot or iced) or in a pitcher of fresh homemade lemonade. You can brush some of the syrup over layers of cake while they’re still a bit warm — the syrup will soak into the cake, keeping the layers moist and extra sweet. You can even whisk some simple syrup into whipped cream instead of sweetening it with powdered sugar. 

The classic recipe uses granulated sugar, but you can use whatever sweetener you like to make simple syrup. Brown sugar, molasses, honey, maple syrup and agave are all great alternatives. You can even flavor your simple syrup with other ingredients. Infuse it with fresh herbs like mint, basil and rosemary, or spices such as cinnamon sticks, allspice berries or cloves. Even fresh fruit like citrus, strawberries and rhubarb add a subtle flavor and color to simple syrup. You can even let ground coffee beans and split vanilla beans sit in the syrup for an hour or two to infuse it with a fun new flavor for an espresso martini. So make a batch of simple syrup (it’ll last a month in the refrigerator) to use for cocktails and more. 


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
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Stir the sugar and water together in a 1- to 2-quart saucepan over medium low heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves completely.

When the syrup comes to a simmer, remove from the heat. Cool to room temperature before adding to drinks and cocktails.

Variations: To flavor your simple syrup with fresh herbs like mint, basil, or rosemary, spices like cinnamon sticks, or even fresh fruit like strawberries, stir in a handful of your preferred add-ins (about 1 teaspoon spices or 3 tablespoons herbs or fruit) once the syrup has been taken off the heat. Cover and let the herbs or spices infuse the syrup for 30 minutes, then strain.

Make-Ahead: Simple syrup can be stored up to 1 month in the refrigerator in an airtight container such as a mason jar.