simple syrup recipe

As you peruse the thousands of cocktail recipes on Bevvy, chances are you’re going to run into a lot of drinks that call for simple syrup. Luckily, it’s one of the few things in the culinary world that actually lives up to its name. While you can certainly pick up some of the mass-produced stuff next time you’re at the supermarket or liquor store, we thought we’d give you a recipe that’ll save you a few bucks and yields more than enough for your next get-together.

1:1 Simple Syrup Recipe

1:1 simple syrup (referring to the ratio of sugar to water) is the most common type, and if you’re only making one, it’s the most versatile. All you’re going to need is some granulated sugar, water, a small saucepan, a stove, and about twenty minutes—a list even the most frazzled home bartender shouldn’t find too daunting.


       1 cup sugar

       1 cup water


  1. Combine sugar and water in saucepan
  2. Boil, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved
  3. Let cool completely before mixing any drinks

Alternatively, you can skip the stovetop process if you have a kettle for boiling water. Simply add the cup of sugar and hot water to a Mason jar and either stir or shake it until the sugar dissolves, then allow it to cool (if you’re going to shake it, wrap the jar up in a towel so you don’t burn yourself).

In addition to being so appropriately simple, the beauty of this simple syrup is that it can be stored in the fridge for at least two months. If you’re going to do that, however, we recommend keeping it in a sealed container. Otherwise it can start to pick up unpleasant flavors and odors from its neighbors and ruin that Old-Fashioned or Daiquiri you worked so hard on.

Rich Simple Syrup Recipe

If you spend any time poking around in cocktail recipe books, especially ones with a historical bent, you’ll find that simple syrup isn’t always so, well, simple. Even without getting into flavored syrups like orgeat, there are a number of varieties with different ratios of sugar to water, and most of them have some kind of old-timey name that makes things extra confusing.

In general, though, most of those names (like rich simple syrup, rock candy syrup, and others) refer to the same thing: 2:1 simple syrup. In other words, it’s the exact same recipe with twice the sugar. The straight-to-the-Mason-jar method doesn’t work as well for rich simple syrup, because you’re making a super-saturated solution—basically, you won’t dissolve all of the sugar by stirring or shaking, so a rolling boil is usually necessary.


       2 cups sugar

       1 cup water


  1. Combine sugar and water in saucepan
  2. Boil, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved
  3. Let cool completely

Rich simple syrup can easily be swapped in to make sweeter versions of the old standbys, but there are also a number of recipes that call for it right off the bat. Classic tiki cocktails like the Mai Tai are great places to start.

Other Varieties of Simple Syrup

Finally, you’re left with syrups that use different kinds of sugar altogether. Brown sugar syrup is a richer, caramel-colored simple syrup that goes great in an Irish Coffee, and there are several tropical drinks, like the Queen’s Park Swizzle, that require Demerara syrupThere’s no real trick to making these—simply use the same recipes above, but with brown or Demerara sugar (a type of unrefined cane sugar named for its place of origin in Guyana).

From there, you can experiment with Turbinado syrupMuscovado syrup (two other varieties of unrefined sugar), and syrup made from all kinds of other sweeteners. Honey syrup, for example, makes for a mean Bee’s Knees or Penicillin cocktail, and is much easier to work with than straight honey. So experiment for yourself and see what works!


Photo: National Restaurant Association

A quick simple syrup recipe that you can whip up in minutes. For once, an easy recipe that actually lives up to its name!

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1 Comment on "Simple Syrup"

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Mack Allen
Mack Allen

Nice and simple. My preference is to use raw sugar instead of granulated sugar. Rest of recipe stays the same.