Step Up Your Coffee and Cocktail Game
If one of your resolutions this year is to trim your expenses, making your daily coffee at home is a great savings hack. Even though homebrewed coffee saves money, you may miss how your local coffee shop makes your order. Before you cave and head to the drive-thru, homemade simple syrup can take your coffee to the next level!
Simple Syrup is a Staple Ingredient
Simple syrup, or liquid sugar, is commonly added to coffees and cocktails. Simple syrup can sweeten a drink without your last sip being full of settled sugar granules. And for specialty drinks, simple syrup is easy to infuse with flavor. While it’s available at most grocery stores, save yourself the money and make it at home in less than 10 minutes!
How to Make Homemade Simple Syrup
Homemade simple syrup is easy to make since it contains only two ingredients: sugar and water. Once mixed, the syrup is heated over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Once you learn the base recipe, you can experiment with creating your infusions.
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- Place a small saucepan over medium-low heat
- Add the water and sugar, stirring to combine
- Heat over medium-low heat until the sugar has fully disolved
- Remove from heat and allow the syrup to chill
- Transfer the syrup to an air-tight container and store refrigerated
Homemade Simple Syrup Infusions
Once you know how to make a basic simple syrup, infusing the syrup is as easy as making tea! Three common ways to infuse homemade simple syrups are liquid extracts, fresh or frozen fruits, and fresh or dried herbs.
Adding flavor extracts is the easiest way to infuse homemade simple syrup with flavor. If you’re using a cup of water and sugar, two teaspoons of your chosen flavor extract is all you need to add. You can add more or less depending on the desired flavor intensity. Once the sugar dissolves, add the extract and stir to combine. Allow the syrup to cool and store refrigerated in an air-tight container.
When infusing with fruits, there are endless possibilities of flavor combinations. You can use fresh, frozen, and even dried fruit if available! Here’s how to infuse each:
- Fresh fruit infusions can be achieved by adding rinsed and chopped fruit to the syrup once the sugar melts. Once melted, reduce the heat to low and add the fruit. Allow the syrup to simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and allow the syrup to chill. Once chilled, strain the syrup through a mesh sieve and transfer to an air-tight container.
- Frozen fruit infusions can be achieved the same way as fresh fruit. But because the fruit will lower the temperature of the syrup, I recommend adding frozen fruit, water, and sugar together. Heating the fruit will help to release the most flavor.
- Dried fruit infusions require the longest steeping time because dried fruit releases flavor as it rehydrates. Once the sugar dissolves, remove the syrup from heat and add the dried fruit. Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and allow the syrup to infuse for at least an hour. The fruit can be steeped in a fridge overnight for more potent infusions. Once steeped to the desired strength, strain the syrup through a mesh sieve and transfer it to an air-tight container.
To infuse homemade simple syrup with herbs, you can use fresh or dried varieties. It’s best to use whole or roughly chopped herbs instead of powders. Powders can be challenging to remove when filtering and end up in your drink. Examples of herbs and spices you can steep include:
- Chili Pepper Seeds
- Cinnamon Sticks
- Mint Leaves
- Lavender Buds
- Lemon Grass
- Rosemary Leaves
- Tea (keep in mind caffeinated varieties will infuse the syrup with caffeine)
How Long Does Homemade Simple Syrup Last?
Plain Simple Syrup
Depending on the sugar-to-water ratio, homemade simple syrup can be refrigerated in an air-tight container for up to six months. The following ratios and storage times apply to simple syrups without infusions:
- 1 part sugar to 2 parts water can last up to 2 weeks refrigerated.
- 1 part sugar to 1 part water can last up to 1 month refrigerated.
- 2 parts sugar to 1 part water can last up to 6 months refrigerated.
Infused Simple Syrup
Cocktails Made with Homemade Simple Syrups
The cocktails below are made with plain and infused simple syrups. You can add the syrups to other drinks or use the recipes to inspire you to create your syrups!
Once cooled, homemade simple syrup should be refrigerated in an air-tight container. I recommend using glass bottles with a stopper for the best flavor. Glass doesn’t contain BPA or other chemicals in plastic containers. Glass also won’t absorb acidic flavors like plastic containers can for an improved taste.
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