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All out of simple syrup, or want a naturally sweet option? Here’s the best simple syrup substitute in cocktails and coffee drinks.

Simple syrup substitute
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Simple syrup is a sweetener used to cut tart and bitter flavors in cocktails and coffee drinks. It’s very easy to make at home. Just heat equal parts sugar and water on the stovetop, and the sugar dissolves to form a thick syrup (here’s how to make it). If you’re all out, of course you could just make another batch, as long as you have 5 minutes and some sugar!

But if you’re all out or looking for some naturally sweet alternatives, here’s the best simple syrup substitutes we’ve found! (And one we use all the time in our cocktails.)

Best simple syrup substitute

Disclaimer: If using these substitutes in a cocktail recipe or coffee drink, use a little less than the recipe calls for, then add more to taste.

1. Maple syrup.

The best simple syrup substitute we’ve found? Maple syrup. You might think it would add a maple flavor to cocktails, but it simply adds a subtle sweetness. Here at A Couple Cooks, we actually prefer it to simple syrup, and use it to sweeten many of our Top 20 Cocktail Recipes You Should Know. Use it as a 1 for 1 replacement with simple syrup.

Some sources state that you should make a simple syrup with maple syrup, but we use it straight: keeping it a quick and simple substitute!

2. Agave syrup.

Agave syrup is also a good substitute for simple syrup in cocktails (it’s sometimes used to sweeten margaritas). The nectar comes from the agave plant. It’s then made into a syrup that’s become more widely available. The flavor is pretty neutral, making it a good option for cocktails. Use it as a 1 for 1 replacement with simple syrup.

3. Honey

Honey is another good simple syrup substitute. Its flavor is slightly stronger than maple syrup, but it still works as a sub. Because the consistency of honey can be very thick, make it into honey syrup! Here’s How to Make Honey Syrup, which you can use as a 1 for 1 replacement with simple syrup.

Related recipes

Here are some cocktail recipes that use maple syrup:

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Missy zinnet says:

    If I use Agave instead of sugar to sweeten chai tea or if I want something with chocolate, what can I use for the chocolate that has no sugar?

    1. Sonja Overhiser says:

      I’m not sure what you mean about chocolate — could you clarify? What kind of things would you be putting chocolate and simple syrup into, drinks?