Sugar Syrup, also widely known as Simple Syrup (and less commonly as Gomme Syrup and Sucre de Canne), is possibly the second most common ingredient across all cocktail recipes after ice. It is so broadly used and important because many cocktails have some degree of sweetness to them, and solid sugar will not dissolve quickly or evenly, if at all, in a cold liquid. Solid sugar is still sometimes used as a novelty in traditional variations of popular recipes like Old Fashioneds, Mojitos and Caipirinhas as an ode to their beginnings.
Most casual drinkers and beginner bartenders will understandably look online to purchase a bottle of Sugar/Simple Syrup to use and will find its shockingly expensive for such a basic product. A quick search for 'Simple Syrup' on Amazon will return results for bottles costing up to £13 for just 700ml, despite the fact that you can make 1.2 litres at home right now for only 65p*!
How can it possibly be so cheap? The big secret is that its literally just sugar and water. That's it.
You can use any type of sugar, from fine caster sugar through to course refined cane sugar. We find that regular granulated sugar works best in general but it is ultimately down to personal preference and the appropriate choice. For example, brown sugar syrup is far more appropriate in a Caipirinha. In many cases where a specific flavour is being called for, you may prefer to use a Fruit Syrup instead of Sugar Syrup.
If you have a sweet tooth don't hesitate to add in a little more sugar - just be aware that your syrup will turn out thicker and you may have to adjust the amount you put into your cocktails.
How to make Sugar Syrup
1 Cup of Sugar
1 Cup of Water
1) Put the ingredients together in a saucepan and turn up the heat. Once it comes to a boil turn down the heat and stir slowly as the mix simmers for 1 minute to ensure the sugar fully dissolves.
2) Decant into a glass bottle, jar or jug while the mixture is still warm.
3) Allow to cool and set into a thick, gooey syrup.
Store at room temperature for up to 7 days, or in the fridge for up to 10 days.
But what if you just want enough sugar syrup to make one or two cocktails and aren't too keen on waiting or washing up? Just measure out two teaspoons of sugar or 3 sugar cubes in a shot glass and fill with boiling water directly from the kettle, stirring gently with the bottom of your bar spoon. Let it stand until it cools to room temperature. This will produce 25ml of delicious Sugar Syrup, enough for two drinks according to most of our recipes!
*1 UK cup of Sugar holds 237g, 1kg of Tesco Value Granulated Sugar costs 0.65p in London as of May 2020. Using our recipe, a 1kg bag of sugar will yield 1.185 litres of sugar syrup.
Check out our straightforward guides to making other ingredients at home: