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 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.
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.
Here are some cocktail recipes that use maple syrup:
- Cosmopolitan Cocktail
- Salty Dog Cocktail
- Sea Breeze Cocktail
- Gin Fizz Cocktail
- Gin Gimlet Cocktail
- Daiquiri Recipe
- Blackberry Bourbon Smash
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.