Simple Syrup

An essential in every bar, simple syrup is a way to add sweetness to drinks. Regular sugar won’t do because it doesn’t dissolve readily into cold ingredients.

To make simple syrup, add equal amounts (by weight) of sugar and water in a saucepan. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves; it will look clear. Don’t boil it, or you will lose water to evaporation. Allow it to cool, then bottle it and store it in your refrigerator.

You can also make simple syrup in a blender. Just add the water and sugar and blend until dissolved. The benefit of this is you don’t have to wait for it to cool, so you can us it immediately.

Variations

Substitute other types of sugar for different syrups. Use demerara sugar to make a demerara syrup or brown sugar for a brown sugar syrup.

Flavor Infusion

You can infusing flavors into your syrup to make your cocktails really stand out. Make your syrup on the stove as normal. Then, immediately after turning off the heat, add the ingredient(s) you would like to infuse into the syrup and allow it to steep in the hot syrup as it cools. When it’s cool, strain out the solids and store in the fridge.

You can infuse just about anything you can think of. Here are some ideas:

The right flavored syrup can take an otherwise simple cocktail to the next level. Don’t be shy with the flavoring; you can always dilute it down with regular simple syrup if it comes out too strong.

See also burnt-sugar-syrup

Honey Syrup

Honey is just a little too thick to incorporate easily into cocktails. You can make a syrup by adding a little water and heating to dissolve the honey in. For every 100 grams of honey, add 64 grams of water (about a 3:2 ratio). This will result in a syrup with about the same sweetness as simple syrup.

You can add infusions to honey syrup the same ways as you can with simple syrup. I infuse cardamom to make a cardomom honey syrup for the Indian Winter cocktail.