Simple Syrup, or sometimes called sugary syrup, is a term you may hear a bartender talk about. You may have seen it in a drink recipe as well. So what exactly is it? Well, it’s not the kind of syrup you put on your pancakes and waffles. It really is well…simple.
What Makes A Simple Syrup?
It’s called simple for a reason. A simple syrup is made up of dissolving white granulated sugar into an equal amount of water. That’s it. It’s a really easy way to sweeten a drink when it may need a little extra sweetness.
So why not just add sugar to your drink if it needs a little more sweetness? Well, when a drink is cold, as most mixed drinks are, sugar granules don’t dissolve. That would leave the drink unevenly mixed and it could affect the taste and quality. That may be fine when you’re making a drink at home but not when a paying customer is expecting a drink to taste a certain way. This is why having a pre-made sweetener like simple syrup is important for any bartender to have.
You can purchase simple syrup at the store but it’s also really easy to make at home. There are a few reasons why it’s a good idea to make it yourself as well. It’s really inexpensive. It’s literally just water and white sugar. It doesn’t get any easier than that. It will save you money. You can also make as much as you need. You also may have other ingredients like preservatives and other things that have been added to the store bought kind. Making your own means you know exactly what’s in it.
RECIPE FOR SIMPLE SYRUP
- Combine ingredients in a saucepan and turn on the heat.
- Stir until the sugar has completely dissolved and remove immediately from the heat.
- Pour into a sterile container and cool before using.
There are also a couple of other syrups that are used for liquids and beverages to be aware of. According to wikipedia: “Flavoured syrups are made by infusing simple syrups with flavouring agents during the cooking process. A wide variety of flavouring agents can be used, often in combination with each other, such as herbs (rosemary), spices (chipotle chilis; cardamom), or aromatics (orange peel; lemongrass; ginger). For instance, syrupus aromaticus is prepared by adding certain quantities of orange flavouring and cinnamon water to simple syrup. This type of syrup is commonly used at coffee bars, especially in the United States, to make flavoured drinks. Infused simple syrups can be used to create desserts, or, to add sweetness and depth of flavour to cocktails.
Gomme syrup (or gum syrup; gomme is French for “gum”) is an ingredient commonly used in mixed drinks. It is also commonly used as a sweetener for iced coffee in Japan. Like bar syrups, it is a 2:1 sugar and water mixture, but has an added ingredient of gum arabic. Gomme syrup is made with the highest ratio of sugar to water possible, while the gum arabic prevents the sugar from crystallizing and adds a smooth texture.”
Making An Infused Simple Syrup
If you have a favorite flavor you want to add into the mix then you can use a technique called infusing. You can choose an ingredient that you want added into the simple syrup and then add it. You would then let the mixture sit for a set amount of time. This time will depend on the kind of flavor you are adding.
If you want to add herbs or spices then you can chop them up into small bits and add them to the mixture. If you are using strong flavors like a hot pepper then you will want to check the taste every few hours after you set the mixture aside to infuse. You do this simply by placing it in the refrigerator. When the mixture is ready fine strain the syrup. You can use:
- Fresh Mint
- Thai Chili
- Black Pepper
There’s actually quite an extensive list, but these should be enough to get the gears turning. If you really want to kick up the flavor then add these ingredients into the mix when you are heating up the simple syrup. The heat will break down the ingredients and add even more flavor. You can still get flavor from infusing, and if you already have the syrup made then you can either cold infuse it or heat it up.
You can use fruits as well but you’ll want to use a different method. You will want to muddle the fruit by crushing it into the bottom of the bowl and then adding syrup to it. You won’t need a ton of fruit so start with one good sized piece and then add more if necessary.
If you aren’t exactly a culinary guru, maybe you have dietary restrictions, or maybe you just don’t have that much time on your hands then don’t worry. We have you covered as well. There are plenty of sweeteners out there that are pre-made that are of high quality. Here is a zero sugar, zero carb simple syrup to try from Amazon. Here is a sugar free, vanilla flavored simple syrup to try from Amazon. Last but not least, here is a traditional syrup made with pure ingredients and no additives or preservatives.
Recipes Using A Simple Syrup
Bloody Rum Punch
- Add all ingredients into a large punch bowl and place in the refrigerator for at least two hours before serving.
- Serve over ice in a punch glass.
- Combine in a blender, ice, strawberry puree, tequila, lime juice, Triple Sec and simple syrup.
- Puree until smooth.
- Pour into salt-rimmed margarita glasses.
- Garnish with lime wedge and/or fresh strawberries.
- Serve and enjoy!
- Combine whiskey, lemon juice and sugar syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice cubes
- Shake well
- Strain into a chilled glass (old-fashioned, martini or wine glass, depending on local tradition)
- Garnish with the maraschino cherry
- Combine the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice
- Shake until chilled
- Strain into a highball glass over ice