Cocktail Syrup, either a Fruit Syrup, Sugar Syrup, or Herb Syrup, provide additional flavour to your cocktails. Yes, you can buy these, but where’s the fun in that?
For the freshest tasting cocktails, here’s our guide on making easy cocktail syrups at home.
What is Cocktail Syrup?
Cocktail syrups are thick viscous liquids used to add flavour and texture to cocktails.
They are usually made using a mix of sugar and water.
The most common type of cocktail syrup is gomme, or sugar syrup. In some recipes it’s known as simple syrup.
Learning how to make gomme is one of the first tricks a home bartender should master. In fact, if you’ve not read our guide on how to make sugar syrup, now is a good time.
Once you have cracked gomme, it’s time to start looking at creating flavoured syrups.
The flavour of homemade syrup is incredible in comparison to lightweight off the shelf varieties. It’s 100% worth the extra effort.
What types of Cocktail Syrup are there?
As we’ve covered in our guide to gomme, sugar syrup is a really easy cocktail syrup to make.
Fruit flavours like raspberry and strawberry pair really well with lots of different types of spirit.
Herb-y, floral flavours are on trend and growing in popularity with home and professional bartenders alike. Mint, basil and thyme are all great flavours to pair with cocktails.
Tea syrups use tea as a base, for a delicate infused flavour.
Can I buy Cocktail Syrup?
Lots of supermarkets do sell cocktail syrups.
However, it’s likely you’ll already have all the herbs and ingredients you need to make a homemade syrup.
Making your own syrup can be really fun and a great way to pack some really great, fresh flavour into your drinks.
How to Make Homemade Cocktail Syrup
How to make Homemade Herb Syrup
Making herb syrup is not as simple as steeping herbs in the liquid during the gomme making process.
Before making any herb syrup you must blanch the herbs first.
The reason for this is to combat (we are going to get a little chef-fy and scientific here) enzymatic browning.
Big words, simple meaning.
Without going into too much boring detail, steeping fresh herbs in hot syrup causes the polyphenols in the plant to allow the enzymes to brown when they encounter oxygen.
The result will be a syrup that’s an unappealing brown shade. Far from ideal.
To outwit science, the method is to blanch the herbs.
Bring a pan of water to the boil and drop the herbs in the liquid for 15-30 seconds before removing and placing immediately in an ice bath
This clever trick ensures the enzymes don’t wreck your tasty syrup.
Once you have created your gomme syrup solution (to the correct ratio) leave it to cool. Take the blanched herbs, remove the stalks and place in a blender. Add the cooled syrup and whizz the solution up.
Sieve the little bits out of the mixture and store in a bottle. Refrigerated this should last you about 4 weeks.
Mint Syrup Recipe
Big Handful Mint (approximately 50g)
250ml Gomme Syrup
Blanch the mint as per the instructions above. Be sure not to expose it to heat for too long or it will lose all its flavour.
Remove stalks and blend mint into the gomme syrup.
Strain the liquid to remove excess fibres.
Bottle it up and you’re good to go.
How to Make Homemade Fruit Syrup
Another whole world of flavour possibilities. There are a few methods of making fruit syrups that vary dependant on what type of fruit you are dealing with.
Fruit syrup does not require blanching. In terms of preparation, we will look at soft fruits and tough fruits as they both use different methods of preparation.
How to Make Soft Fruit Syrup
For soft fruits such as raspberries or strawberries, the method is simple. Steep your fruit in hot water and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
As a ratio we look to 1 punnet (approx. 250g) to 250g water – so the 1:1 ratio.
Once the times up, strain the solution so you are left with a clear fruit water (you can strain through a coffee filter to get crystal clear syrup – your call).
Add in your sugar as per our sugar syrup post.
How to Make Tough Fruit Syrup
The tough guys of the fruit world, such as ginger or rhubarb need a different approach. For this, we need to get heavy.
Chop up the fruit or root into small pieces and blend it with boiling water and sugar. Ratios here are 1:1:1
Blend it up and then simmer in a pan for a few minutes. Cool, sieve, and bottle up.
Ginger Syrup Recipe
250g Ginger (cut into chunks – no need to peel)
Boil water and add all ingredients to a blender.
Whizz up and then put in a pan and simmer for 5 minutes.
Strain the mixture to remove most of the ginger fibre.
Cool and bottle.
How to Make Tea Syrup
Tea Syrup is really easy to make. You can experiment with different types of tea, and even mix flavours.
Simple Tea Syrup Recipe
Tea Bags (your choice of flavour)
Bring the water to the same temperature that you would if simply making a cup of tea.
Add your teabag to the water and stir for the regular amount of time as you usually would.
Remove the teabag and then bring the water back up to boil.
Stir the mix until the sugar is completely dissolved.
Reduce the heat and let it simmer until around half the mix has evaporated.
Turn off the heat and let the mix cool.
Store in a sealed container. The shelf life should be good for 3-4 months.
What Cocktails Use Cocktail Syrup?
Try out your new skills and head over to our Cocktail Recipes page for a wide range of classic and original cocktail recipes.