Do you want to learn how to make sugar syrup?
When watching a bartender fashion a cocktail out of what seems like an endless amount of ingredients, It can be easy to feel a bit daunting when the time comes for you to experiment with cocktail making at home. A quick glance behind any cocktail bar will reveal a selection of bottles that most people never pay much attention to.
While cocktails are primarily made up of an alcohol base with a mixer, the best cocktails utilise a few key ingredients to enhance the flavour and experiment with a large variety of drinks. These select items include bitters (like Angostura bitters), lemon/lime juice, Gomme, and sugar syrup.
Sugar syrup is used in a number of the world’s most popular cocktails including a Daiquiri and Mojito. It’s ideal for beginner cocktail makers to provide a consistent flavour and taste to cocktails but did you know it’s easy, cheap, and just as convenient to learn how to make sugar syrup.
What Is Sugar Syrup
Anything utilised in cocktails sounds overly complicated. Just take some other well-known cocktail ingredients as an example:
- Gomme (sweetening ingredient very similar to sugar syrup)
- Crème De Cassis/Menthe/Cacao/Mûre… (Crème liqueur is a flavoured liqueur syrup with a consistent texture and can be found to have an endless number of flavours)
- Bitters (aromatic cocktail ingredient to provide an aroma and bitter/bittersweet taste to cocktails)
The key to a great cocktail is to either create or enhance an already existing flavour. While some of the above sound complicated to someone who has never worked in a bar before, most listed above are just flavoured syrups and the simplest of all these variations is… Sugar syrup.
Sugar syrup is made from one part water to one part sugar. The key advantage of using a syrup over regular spoonful’s of sugar is that it’s already pre-mixed so it blends seamlessly with cocktail ingredients and ice.
Beginners trying to stir/mix sugar is always a messier affair than what you might anticipate so using sugar syrup is an excellent way to guarantee consistency of texture and taste with every serve.
If you’re planning a cocktail evening or just want to experiment with some drinks, we’d recommend making sugar syrup from scratch rather than going out and buying a bottle. Why?
- It’s cheaper to make your own
- It’s quicker to make it than it is to go out and buy it
- After you’ve made an initial few batches, you can then start to experiment by adding additional flavouring like cinnamon or mint to really boost your cocktail-making game!
Sugar syrup also goes by two other names – glucose syrup and our favourite name, simple syrup. Simple syrup sums it up nicely and when we show you the ingredient list and cooking method, you’ll see just why…
Sugar Syrup Ingredients
- Granulated or Castor Sugar
Sugar Syrup Ratios
The key for how to make sugar syrup is in the ratios. Don’t worry though, the ratios are not complicated considering it consists of only two ingredients.
For regular sugar syrup, the ratio is (1:1), which is one part granulated sugar to one part water. As a practical example, you could use one cup of granulated sugar and one cup of water to make a basic sugar syrup.
This 1:1 ratio of sugar syrup is good for most cocktails. It allows for ease of mixability without becoming overpowering in terms of sweetness (which could easily ruin the flavour profile for most cocktails). It’s, therefore, best used for cocktails where sugar syrup is not a primary ingredient.
There is also another type of sugar syrup known as rich sugar syrup. Rich sugar syrup uses a ratio of (2:1), which is two parts granulated sugar to one part water. Rich sugar syrup produces a thicker syrup so is best used on cocktails where the body of the drink requires more texture/weight like a Mojito, Daiquiri, or Tom Collins.
- Glass Bottle (with an airtight sealable lid)
- Additional Flavouring (this can be done to taste with items including cinnamon, mint, honey or ginger)
Note – The additional flavouring is optional and is only needed once your cocktail making skills progress and you are experimenting with new flavours for your drinks.
How to Make Sugar Syrup
To make sugar syrup, add 200g of granulated sugar and 240ml of water to a saucepan. Bring the water to a boil while occasionally stirring the sugar. Reduce the heat to simmer and stir in the sugar until completely dissolved.
Once dissolved, remove from the heat and pour into a glass jar and leave to cool. Note – The liquid should pour noticeably easy. Despite being a “syrup” this is not a thick mixture due to the ingredients so don’t be surprised by the smooth-flowing liquid when pouring into your glass. The easier it is to pour, the better your consistency.
Once cooled, add to a sealable glass bottle and refrigerate.
It really is that simple! You now have a store-bought bottle of sugar syrup at a fraction of the cost.
We touched on this earlier but once you get the hang of making sugar syrup (though there’s really not too much to get the hang of), we’d definitely recommend experimenting with the flavour of your sugar syrup. For minimal effort, you can really start to create some unique and personal cocktails at home.
Starting with the type of sugar used, you can substitute out granulated sugar for demerara sugar. This will produce a different colour and flavour but allows for an excellent Old Fashioned (like we’ve opted for in our Old Fashioned Cocktail Kit).
Besides swapping out the sugar, you can also make additions during cooking. While simmering and dissolving the sugar, simply add some additional ingredients to the pan and stir them in to cook and infuse the flavour into your syrup.
The combination of ingredients is endless. For sweetness you can infuse it with honey or vanilla, For added spice, you can add ginger or cinnamon or to add a herb or botanical taste, you can add mint or lavender.