How to Make Simple Syrup

A close up on clear syrup streaming into a glass bowl

Stop wasting your money on the bottled stuff. Please.

By Erin Henderson

I was grocery shopping the other day and came across a 375 ml bottle of simple syrup for $6. I nearly choked on my own wagging tongue until I realized that was a veritable bargain compared to what else is on the market. A 473ml bottle of organic simple syrup at a fancy cocktail supply store was a gobsmacking $22! Another 400ml bottle that infused the flavour of bergamot rang in at $28.

I don’t know whether to applaud or shame these producers. 

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The cold, hard truth about simple syrup, is that it’s called simple for a reason. It’s literally sugar (take your pick – white, brown, honey, agave, coconut) gently dissolved into an equal portion of water.

It costs pennies and takes seconds.

When I see these pretty bottles commanding double digits for that miniscule amount of effort and cost, my German/British/Scottish roots set aflame. It takes a lot to offend me, but, by Jove, I think they’ve done it!

Below is the basic recipe for simple syrup. Please share it with all your innocent, cocktail-loving friends who are currently being taken to the bank in the name of a decent drink.

Meanwhile, I’m off to register my simple syrup company. I’m thinking “Got’cha!” would be a good brand name.

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Simple Syrup

At its most simple, simple syrup is equal portions sugar and water. And in most cases, it’s your basic white sugar and tap water.

If you feel like shimmying into your fancy pants for your bar shift, play around with honey for use in whisky-based cocktails, or agave for tequila-based cocktails.

I generally make a half litre at the start of the week. If I need more I can quickly whip up a new batch, and if I don’t use it up, it’s cheap enough that I don’t feel guilty about dumping it and starting fresh.

Makes: ½ litre
Bartender level: easy

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup water
How to Make It:
  1. In a small sauce pot set over low heat combine water and sugar. Stir to dissolve.
  2. Remove from heat, allow to cool, and store in the fridge in a sealed jar until needed.

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