How to Make Simple Syrup for Cocktails (and Impress Your Friends)

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Friends coming over in a flash and you're fresh out of cocktail mixers? No worries, simple syrup is here to save the day (and your at-home happy hour).

For those unfamiliar, simple syrup is one of the most common cocktail ingredients around, and it also happens to be one of the easiest to make. To create your own simple syrup, you need only two ingredients: sugar and water. Despite the simplicity, simple syrup is a key ingredient in Old Fashioneds, Palomas, Classic Daiquiris and many other cocktails.

Not only is simple syrup easy to make, additional ingredients can be added to create unique, flavored syrups. These flavored simple syrups can run the gamut from the tastily tame to the deliciously imaginative, depending on how creative you're willing to get. Flavored syrups are also a great way to add seasonal flavor to a cocktail. Want to add a touch of fall to your Old Fashioned? Try making a cinnamon and brown sugar simple syrup. Care to create a summer-friendly martini? Opt for a passionfruit simple syrup.

If you're ready to dive into creating your new favorite cocktail ingredient, just follow these simple steps.

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Gather Your Ingredients

To make a basic simple syrup, the only ingredients you'll need are sugar (granulated sugar or brown sugar) and water. A pot can be used for boiling the sugar and water. If you're making a flavored simple syrup, you'll also need to gather the ingredients needed to flavor your syrup. They can include everything from dried lavender to raspberries.

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Measure Your Sugar And Water

Before you add sugar and water to your pot, be extra careful when measuring the necessary amounts of each. You want your simple syrup at a certain consistency: not too watery and not too thick. You also don't want a simple syrup that's overly sweet. To make your basic simple syrup, you'll need one cup of water and one cup of sugar. This will yield one and a half cups of simple syrup.

Need to make a bigger batch? Just keep with the 1:1 ratio.

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Begin To Heat

Pour water and sugar into a pot over medium heat. Stir and allow to boil. This will take a couple of minutes, depending on the size of the batch you're making. Once the combination of water and sugar has been brought to a boil, allow to boil until the sugar has visibly dissolved, stirring occasionally. The liquid should become more clear as the sugar starts to dissolve. Immediately move from your heat source once the sugar has dissolved.

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Add Extra Ingredients For Flavored Syrup

Before your simple syrup comes to a boil, add the ingredients needed to make a flavored syrup. Fresh or dried herbs, fruits (especially berries and oranges) and spices are among the best picks for a flavored syrup.

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Cool And Store

Once your simple syrup has been taken off the stove, allow to cool for 30 minutes to an hour. If you've created a flavored simple syrup and have an ingredient that needs to be taken out (rosemary, almonds, etc), you can allow that ingredient to stay in the simple syrup until it has finished cooling. Once that 30 minutes to an hour has passed, pour your simple syrup into a sealable glass jar. Be sure to strain your simple syrup before pouring into a glass jar if you've added any ingredient that needs to be removed. 

Once it's sealed and refrigerated, your homemade simple syrup will last for up to a month (flavored simple syrups tend to not last as long).

In addition to cocktails, simple syrup makes for a great addition to iced tea, mocktails, sparkling water and other beverages that can benefit from a touch of sweetness.

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