Simple syrup, a liquid sweetener made with sugar and water, can be used to add sweetness to iced coffee or tea, cocktails, and added to desserts.
What is simple syrup?
Simple syrup is a combination of sugar and water, mixed together until the sugar dissolves to create a liquid sweetener.
A basic simple syrup recipe is made with sugar and water. The type of sugar you use is up to you and can change the flavour and colour of your final product. White sugar will create a relatively neutral sweet flavour with almost no colour while a dark brown sugar will result in a richer flavour with a dark colour.
To make a flavoured simple syrup infusion you can add spices or herbs (fresh or dried) to the saucepan when you heat the mixture, or add an extract such as vanilla or almond.
Note: if you going to use spices or herbs you'll want to heat the mixture to allow the flavours to steep into your simple syrup.
Simple syrup variations
As I mentioned above, the type of sugar you use can alter the flavour of the simple syrup. I have used a variety of sugars and my preference for cold brew coffee and many desserts is a brown sugar based sweetener for the rich, caramel-like flavour.
Making a simple syrup infused with flavour is easy with the addition of herbs, spices or extracts. Some options:
- Spices: cardamom, vanilla bean pod, cinnamon bark, black pepper
- Herbs & botanicals: food-grade lavender, mint leaves, thyme, rosemary, tea leaves
- Extracts: Vanilla, almond, caramel, orange blossom
The basic simple syrup is made with a 1:1 ratio of sugar to water. To make a rich simple syrup (I've also heard it referred to as a saturated simple syrup) use a 2:1 ratio of sugar to water. A rich simple syrup will be a bit thicker and sweeter, and it's my preference when making ice cream or popsicles.
How is simple syrup used?
A liquid sweetener like simple syrup is a good option to use in cold drinks and cocktails to add sweetness instead of a granular sugar which, if not properly dissolved, can leave a grainy residue.
It can also be used to add moisture to cakes before icing, added to homemade frozen desserts like ice cream and popsicles or other desserts such as puddings or whipped cream.
Homemade Simple Syrup
- 1 Small saucepan
- Measuring cups
- Cooking Spoon
- Glass Jars with Tight Fitting Lid
- 1 cup sugar (You can use white sugar, brown sugar, demerara and more)
- 1 cup water
- Add water and sugar to a small saucepan on medium-high heat.
- Bring the sugar solution to a boil stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar.
- Turn off the heat and let the sugar solution cool.
- Once cooled, pour the simple syrup into a glass jar with a lid.
- Store in the refrigerator for up to a month.