Hannah Drake

5 Simple Syrups You Need in Your Home Bar

EntertainingHannah DrakeComment

I started exploring the wonderful world of simple syrups last fall to up my beverage game (and impress our guests). It’s a really…simple way to take your cocktails to the next level. They’re easy to make and they keep well in your refrigerator. Once you have the basics, you can do pretty much anything! (Including doubling or halving the recipe to meet your needs.) So let’s get to the five key syrups (IMO) that you need for your home bar so you can make delicious seasonal drinks all year round.

And remember: the beauty of simple syrups is that they’re great in any drink, it doesn’t have to be alcoholic.

LAVENDER SIMPLE SYRUP

  • 1 cup cool water

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 2 Tablespoons lavender buds

Add the ingredients to a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer for 7 minutes. Cool at room temperature for 30 minutes, strain, then chill for 1 hour before using. Store in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to 1 month.

Variants: blackberry lavender simple syrup (add 1 cup fresh blackberries) or lavender thyme simple syrup (add 1 bunch fresh thyme)

Try it in a Gin & Tonic or a Gimlet for a refreshing summer cocktail. For a non-alcoholic drink, add 1 Tbsp to lemonade.

ROSEMARY SIMPLE SYRUP

  • 1 cup cool water

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary

Add the ingredients to a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer for 7 minutes. Cool at room temperature for 30 minutes, strain, then chill for 1 hour before using. Store in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to 1 month.

Try it in a Gimlet or a cranberry sour.

APPLE CINNAMON SIMPLE SYRUP

  • 1 cup cool water

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1 apple (any kind), sliced

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon or 3 cinnamon sticks

Add the ingredients to a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer for 7 minutes. Cool at room temperature for 30 minutes, strain, then chill for 1 hour before using. Store in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to 1 month.

Note: If using ground cinnamon, it will settle. Shake well before using it to mix the cinnamon through.

Add it to your gin & tonic for a delicious autumnal drink.

CRANBERRY SIMPLE SYRUP

  • 1 cup cool water

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 2 1/4 cup cranberries (fresh or frozen)

Add the ingredients to a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer for 7 minutes. (Do not allow the berries to burst.) Cool at room temperature for 30 minutes, strain, then chill for 1 hour before using. Store in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to 1 month.

Try it in a Moscow Mule for a cocktail perfect for Thanksgiving or Christmas.

GINGERBREAD SIMPLE SYRUP

  • 1 cup cool water

  • 1 cup brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup molasses (treacle)

  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger or 2 ounces (225 grams) fresh ginger, peeled & diced

  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon or 4 cinnamon sticks

  • 1 teaspoon cloves or 12 whole cloves

Add the ingredients to a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool at room temperature for 30 minutes, then chill for 1 hour before using. Store in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to 1 month.

Note: This syrup will be dark and thicker than normal simple syrup because of the added molasses and it will settle over time. Shake well before using it to mix the molasses and ground spices through. Using fresh ginger may result in a different taste than ground ginger.

Try it in a Kentucky Mule (bourbon & ginger beer) for a festive cocktail you can drink throughout the holidays. It’s also unbelievably good in a cup of hot chocolate!

Earlier this moth, I attempted to freeze a simple syrup to free up space in the fridge and kind of just to see if it works. I poured it into an ice cube tray and after a few days, it was a really soft solid. Almost like jelly. They came out in one piece (but didn’t pop out like normal ice cubes), so I was able to put them into a bag to keep in the freezer. But then they just kind of turned into a solid mushy thing. I can just scoop it out when I need some, but it’s not as clean and simple as I imagined.

If you want more, check out my Cardamom Coconut Gin Fizz post for the cardamom simple syrup recipe or my Red, White, & Blue Raspberry Lemonade for the raspberry simple syrup recipe.

Shop some of our bar favourites below. We use the 250ml glass bottles (with the cork) to store our simple syrups when we’re entertaining. (It doesn’t quite hold a full batch if using 1 cup of both water and sugar.) The pourers fit perfectly in the top which saves us from a sticky mess. To store in the fridge, we keep them in mason jars. I recommend using both because it’s messy to pour from the mason jars, but they do seal it a lot better and keep it fresher longer.

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