Granulated sugar does not dissolve easily in cold beverages. Simple syrup (also called bar syrup, sugar syrup or gomme, the French word for gum) makes it easy to add sweetness to drinks—cocktails, iced tea or iced coffee.
Or, you can easily make simple syrup—the option bartenders prefer—and keep it on hand.
You can also flavor it with anything from chile and cinnamon to lavender and mint (there’s a Ginger Simple Syrup recipe below that you can use as a template for other flavors).
Simple syrup is made on the stove top, stirring sugar and hot water until they combine into a syrup. But you can try the “shaking” techniquebelow: no stove necessary.
Both techniques follow.
1. BRING the water to a boil. Dissolve the sugar into the boiling water, stirring constantly until dissolved completely. (Do not allow the syrup to boil for too long or it will be too thick.)
2. REMOVE the pan from the heat. Allow to cool completely and thicken.
3. ADD optional flavor. For vanilla simple syrup, add 1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract to cooled sugar syrup. If you want to infuse fresh herbs (basil, mint, rosemary), simmer them in the hot water for 20 minutes and remove before mixing the water with the sugar.
This recipe employs the old-school, cook-it-on-the-stove approach to making simple syrup. Enjoy it in a cocktail or in hot or iced tea.
Instead of the ginger, you can infuse herbs like lavender and mint; fruits like berries, citrus and pomegranate; and spices like pumpkin pie spice blends and vanilla bean.
1. COMBINE ginger, sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
2. REMOVE the pan from the heat and set aside to cool. Strain the syrup and refrigerate in an airtight container.
This technique makes plain simple syrup, but not flavored syrups, which require simmering the flavor item in hot water.
1. FILL. Using the proportion of 2 parts sugar to three parts water, fill a bottle almost halfway with sugar; add hot water.
2. SHAKE. Cover the top and shake well. Store in a cool, dry place or in the fridge.
Some bartenders use a 1:1 ratio of sugar and water for a thicker syrup. Others prefer a thinner syrup.
Play around with the proportions until you hit on what’s right for you