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Your home bar needs these quick and easy simple syrup recipes

Want to sweeten up your home bar? Try these simple syrup recipes to up your cocktail game

Man preparing quick cocktails at home
Rawpixel / Alamy

Whether you have a sweet tooth or simply need to balance out an earthy cocktail, simple syrup is an essential part of any bar. You can find various pre-made syrups and mixers on store shelves, but all you need for a great simple syrup is a saucepan and some sugar. Once you have the basics down, flavors are only limited by your imagination.

Aptly named, simple syrup is easy to make and can last up to three months in the refrigerator. Just boil equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves, and then let it cool. You can also make simple syrup in a jar or container if you have time to spare, but the resulting (thinner) syrup will have a shorter shelf life.

White sugar is the standard, but brown sugar yields a more flavorful syrup. If you don’t have any brown sugar handy, you can raise the sugar-to-water ratio to 2:1 to make rich simple syrup. 

Beyond plain simple syrups, there are endless infusions from lavender to almonds. Simple syrup recipes may require more prep time, but these palate-pleasing extras can save you a lot of muddling time. Before you start prepping some fancy simple syrups, get acquainted with these flavors.

Orange

Orange slices
milosz_g / Adobe Stock

There are two main ways to make an orange syrup. You can let orange peels/slices simmer in simple syrup or create an oleo saccharum (oil sugar) without heat. The latter produces a more potent flavor as the sugar draws out the oil from the orange peel. Oleo saccharum can be duplicated with other citrus fruits, but lemons and limes will take longer to express their oils.

Ingredients

  • 4 oranges
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup water

Method

  1. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest from the oranges.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss the zest with the sugar, cover, and let stand for 4 to 12 hours.
  3. Pour 12 cup boiling water into the bowl and stir until the sugar dissolves.
  4. Pour the oleo saccharum through a fine sieve into a jar and discard the orange zest.
  5. Yields approximately 12 ounces.

Mint

Mint and ice on stone table
Evgeny Karandaev / Shutterstock

This syrup is the key to making your mojitos and mint julep cocktails easier to craft. Light on the sugar, this syrup lets the mint take the lead, a valuable quality when you want something pre-made to taste fresh. Give your wrist a break and use less mint in the long run with this easy simple syrup recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves

Method

  1. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring sugar and water just to a boil.
  2. Add mint leaves.
  3. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, without stirring, for about 10 minutes.
  4. Strain the syrup into a small metal bowl and let it sit until cooled.
  5. Yields approximately 10 ounces.

Ginger

Ginger and sliced ginger
FomaA / Adobe Stock

Ginger can take on spicy and earthy notes in certain drinks, but it’s most popular in sweet cocktails, especially in the form of ginger beer as seen in the classic Moscow Mule. Ginger and spiced rum go hand in hand, but it can also open up a mezcal.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 chopped peeled ginger

Method

  1. Bring the sugar, ginger, and 3/4 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar.
  2. Remove from heat and let sit for 20 minutes.
  3. Strain into a jar, cover, and chill.
  4. Yields approximately 16 ounces.

Matcha

Matcha
Brent Hofacker / Shutterstock

Though not too common in classic cocktails, matcha adds a splash of color and antioxidants to many modern creations. The syrup takes the bitter edge off the matcha, but after a few days, the sweet mask will lift along with its striking color. For the best flavor, you should use this syrup as soon as possible. Whether you make a matcha martini or a comparatively subdued take on a grasshopper is up to you.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons matcha powder

Method

  1. Bring water to a boil and let cool for one minute.
  2. Combine sugar and matcha powder in a bowl.
  3. Slowly pour water into the bowl, stirring constantly to prevent lumps.
  4. Store in an airtight container.

Coffee

Coffee cocktails
Hatfields London / Unsplash

Do you want to give your cocktails a little kick? Try adding some coffee-flavored simple syrup. Sure, you could use this syrup to flavor your morning coffee, but it also brings endless possibilities to your home bar. You could try it in an Old Fashioned for an interesting flavor boost. It would also go great in a chocolate coffee martini, the possibilities are really endless. It’s incredibly simple to make, so there’s no reason a coffee simple syrup shouldn’t have a place in your home bar kit.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup of coffee (brewed at extra-strength)

Method

  1. Combine the sugar in a medium saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
  3. When the mixture comes to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 3 minutes, stirring often.
  4. Pour the syrup into an airtight container and allow it to come to room temperature.
  5. Seal and store in the refrigerator for up to one month.

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J. Fergus
Former Digital Trends Contributor
J. loves writing about the vices of life — decadent food, strong drinks, potent cannabis, and increasingly invasive…
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