Yes, it really is that simple! All you need is sugar and 5 minutes to make this popular cocktail sweetener. Here’s how to make simple syrup at home!

How to make simple syrup

Simple syrup is a sweetener that’s often used in cocktail recipes and coffee drinks. But did you know you can make it at home in just 5 minutes? All you need is sugar and water, and you’ve got your own! Alex and I have turned into semi-professional mixologists over here, with a long list of homemade cocktails under our belt. It wasn’t long into it that we realized homemade simple syrup was a skill we needed to master. Here’s how to make simple syrup: it’s so easy you can memorize it!

How to make simple syrup (it really is that simple!)

If you’ve got sugar and 5 minutes, you can make simple syrup! There’s really no skill involved here, so let’s get right to it. It’s a formula you can memorize and make again and again:

  1. Place equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan. In this recipe we used ½ cup sugar and ½ cup water.
  2. Heat over medium and whisk until the sugar dissolves. Resist the urge to simmer! All you want is to dissolve the sugar.
  3. Cool to room temperature. That’s it: you’re done! Cool to room temperature before using.
How to make simple syrup

How much simple syrup does 1 cup sugar make?

It equals 1 ½ cups syrup. You’d think that 1 cup sugar plus 1 cup water would be 2 cups syrup, right? But the chemistry of dissolving sugar makes the final product equal ¾ the volume of the added quantities of sugar and water.

How long does simple syrup last?

Store it in a covered container in the refrigerator. (We use a mason jar with a lid.) It lasts for about 1 month.

Simple syrup recipe

Can you use other sugars in simple syrup?

You can! Using brown sugar results in a caramel-y brown syrup that works well in bourbon and whiskey drinks like our whiskey sour. You also can use natural sweeteners in your cocktails…keep reading.

Is there a naturally sweet simple syrup? (Yes! Maple.)

There is…it’s pure maple syrup! Alex and I love using maple as as sweetener for our cocktail recipes instead of simple syrup. In fact, we prefer it! It gives a gentle sweetness and adds a bit of flavor nuance, almost like adding an aroma or essence like in bitters. If you choose to use maple in your cocktails, make sure to use “pure” and not the imitation variety that uses artificial ingredients.

Here are some of our favorite drinks that we’ve sweetened with maple:

How to make simple syrup

What cocktails use it?

So many! Too many to count, really. So here are some of our favorite collections of cocktail recipes: many of the recipes you’ll find here have simple syrup!

This recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free, and gluten-free.

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Simple syrup

How to Make Simple Syrup


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 0 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: ¾ cup 1x

Description

Yes, it really is that simple! All you need is sugar and 5 minutes to make this popular cocktail sweetener. Here’s how to make simple syrup at home!


Ingredients

Scale
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup water

Instructions

  1. Add the sugar and water to saucepan and heat over medium heat.
  2. Stir until sugar is dissolved (don’t bring to simmer) for 1 to 2 minutes. Cool to room temperature before using. Keeps in the refrigerator for 1 month.
  • Category: Essentials
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Cocktails

Keywords: How to make simple syrup

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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4 Comments

  1. Well Done to touch on the “physical chemistry” of simple syrup. My first foray into simple syrup was inspired by Wayne Embury’s “Fine Art of Mixing Cocktails” – 3rd Edition, which was reprinted about 12 years ago.

    I took this opportunity to fetch my copy to refresh – Embury did indeed call for a 3:1 Sugar:Water proportion (!) “boiled vigorously” and cooled.

    (he prefaced this with a confession that he had “abandoned the agony of softening and muddling loaf sugar (sic) in making Old Fashioneds”)

    (Edition 1 was published in 1948. One supposes loaf sugar was then more common – this wiki entry implies that it is different than “cube sugar”):

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sugarloaf#Contemporary_availability

    I am no chemist – so have not measured the volumes resulting from various sugar/water combinations. However, I did note that Embury’s 3 cups sugar to 1 cup water nearly filled a gin bottle – perhaps yielding 24 fl. oz. (and how much was left in the pot?”)

    I have also noted that such a rich concocotion, stored at room temp, eventually forms crystals. This also seems hostile to molds and other spoiling organisms.

    (have you noticed spoilage in a 1:1 combination – or have you merely repeated the obligatory “refrigeration” excess that seems part and parcel with virtually all current cooking advice?)

    I would also be interested in discovering the differences between “British lemonade” and American – perhaps you have some insight on this (?) see my other comment at “Homemade Sparkling Lemonade”.

    Best Regards

    Jahn Ghalt
    jahnghalt@yahoo.com

    PS – feel free to add me to your spam list

    1. Hi Jahn! We store our simple syrup refrigerated which is our recommendation. It lasts for a few months with no crystals (but we use it faster than that.) We replied to your other comment re lemonade on the Sparkling Lemonade post!

  2. In your daiquiri recipe , can I use Stevia for the simple syrup and if so, would that mixture last more than a month ?