all i know about simple syrup

Every time I post a picture of a fancy drink (alcoholic or otherwise) on my instagram people ask where I get the flavoured syrups I use for them*. Did I buy them? Did I make them? How did I make them? Is it hard to make them? How do you use them? How long do they last?

Generally I do make all the flavoured syrups I use (the exceptions being some elderflower and lingonberry drink concentrate from Ikea) and it is SO EASY to do, literally anyone can do it. There is a reason they call it simple syrup! All you need is sugar, water, and the flavouring of your choice. I keep a few different ones in the fridge and love adding them to to cocktails, juices or seltzer to ~elevate~ my drinks. They can also be used for sno-cones or slushies, or in sauces for ice cream, waffles and other treats.

Basic simple syrup will actually keep pretty much indefinitely (sugar is a preservative), but the addition of different ingredients can affect the shelf life. A general rule of thumb is to keep them, refrigerated, for up to a week. If you don’t think you’ll use up a whole batch in that time these recipes are very easily scaleable. Always be sure to properly clean and sterilize jars or bottles you use to store your syrups. PERSONALLY I keep mine unless they start looking funky, like if they grow a mould (this has never happened) or become cloudy when they weren’t cloudy before (this happened one time). But I’m a rebel, and you my wish to err on the side of not poisoning yourself or others.

basic simple syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

Add the water and sugar to a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Remove the pan from heat and allow it to cool and transfer to a bottle or jar with a lid and keep refrigerated.

You can change the flavour profile of your syrups by using different types of sugar, like brown, golden or coconut. I made a mixed berry and vanilla syrup using a mixture of half plain sugar and half vanilla sugar that turned out delicious. More recently I made a honey syrup by mixing equal parts honey and water.

The fun part is adding the flavours! All you need to do is add herbs, spices, edible flowers or fruit to your syrup.

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berry or stone fruit flavoured simple syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cup fresh, canned, or frozen fruit of your choice

This is a good way to use up produce that might be a little past it’s prime (squishy strawberries, mummified frozen peaches). For fresh fruit, wash it and chop roughly (for stone fruits only, smaller fruits you can use whole). Frozen fruits do no need to be defrosted before making your syrup. Canned fruits should be drained and gently rinsed.

Add the water, sugar and fruit a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Remove the pan from heat and allow it to cool, then use a fine sieve strain out any solids and discard. Transfer the syrup to a bottle or jar with a lid and keep refrigerated.

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apple or pear flavoured simple syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
the peel of 4 large apples OR 6 medium apples OR 6 pears
1 tsp lemon juice

Make this syrup if you have a surplus of apple peelings, like if you’ve just peeled a bunch to make a pie (and not like me, who made a pie because I peeled a bunch of apples to make this syrup). Be sure to wash your apples before peeling!

Add the water, sugar, peels and lemon juice a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Remove the pan from heat and allow it to cool, then use a fine sieve strain out any solids and discard. Transfer the syrup to a bottle or jar with a lid and keep refrigerated.

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citrus fruit flavoured simple syrup
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup citrus juice
2 tbsp citrus zest

This recipe can be used for lemons, limes, oranges or tangerines. Maybe even grapefruit? I haven’t tried that one yet. Be sure to wash the outside of your citrus fruit before zesting.

Add the sugar, water, citrus juice and zest and fruit a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Remove the pan from heat and allow it to cool, then use a fine sieve strain out any solids and discard. Transfer the syrup to a bottle or jar with a lid and keep refrigerated.

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floral or herbal flavoured simple syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cup loosely packed fresh OR 1/3 cup dried edible flower petals or herb leaves

If you are using flowers petals, you need to make sure the flowers are edible. Here is a good resource for determining what parts of which flowers are edible. You also want to be sure no pesticides or other chemicals have been used on any part of the flowering plant. Wash all leaves and petals before use.

Add the water, sugar and petals or leaves a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Remove the pan from heat, cover and steep overnight as it cools. Use a fine sieve strain out any solids and discard. Transfer the syrup to a bottle or jar with a lid and keep refrigerated.

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ginger, cinnamon or vanilla bean simple syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 small piece of ginger (5″ long, peeled and thinly sliced or grated) OR 3 cinnamon sticks OR 1 whole vanilla bean

Add the water, sugar and ginger, cinnamon or vanilla (slice the bean open lengthwise, scrape out the seeds and add both seeds and pod to the mixture) to the saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Remove the pan from heat and allow it to cool. Use a fine sieve strain out any solids and discard. Transfer the syrup to a bottle or jar with a lid and keep refrigerated.

Happy syruping!

*People also ask how I make shaved ice and the answer is I GOT AN ICE SHAVER, YOU SHOULD GET ONE TOO. This is the one I have.

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