What is simple syrup and how do you make it? How do you use it in cocktails?

What is simple syrup?

Simple syrup - sometimes called “sugar syrup” - is a liquid form of sugar used to sweeten drinks and food dishes. As a liquid, it is the preferred way to sweeten cocktails, because it dissolves more quickly and easily into the cold cocktail mixture than solid sugar.

If you are a regular cocktail-maker, or need enough for a big batch of cocktails (if you’re having a party, say), we recommend making a full jar of simple syrup - it will only take 10-15 minutes and you can use it time and again; it will keep in the fridge for a month or so.

How do you make simple syrup?


It’s very quick, easy and cheap to make simple syrup at home for use in your cocktails! You only need two ingredients and a pan.

Here’s how to make it:

  • Add equal parts sugar and water to a small saucepan over a low heat for about 10 minutes. Do not microwave!

  • Gently stir the mixture until it dissolves and forms a slightly runny syrup that’s about half the original volume.

  • If you do want a thicker syrup, simply simmer the mixture, stirring gently, until the liquid reduces to form the consistency you’re after.

  • Once your syrup is ready, let it cool before adding to your cocktail mixture.

  • Alternatively, if you’re making a large batch, strain it into a jar and seal the lid tightly. Pop it in the fridge - it will keep for about a month.

There are no hard and fast rules about the ratio of sugar to water in your simple syrup - if you want it sweeter, add more sugar!

How do you make flavoured simple syrup?


It couldn’t be easier to make a delicious flavoured simple syrup that will add a gorgeous dash of flavour - and, sometimes, colour - to your cocktails! Simply add a little of your chosen ingredient to the pan of water and sugar while it’s simmering, then strain the bits out before storing or using.

Here are a few of our favourite ingredients you can use to create a flavoured simple syrup:

  • Fruits: raspberry, strawberry, blackberry, pomegranate, orange

  • Spices: cinnamon, star anise, nutmeg, ginger, vanilla

  • Herbs: rosemary, thyme, lemon thyme

  • Flowers: lavender, rose petals, hibiscus

What drinks can I make with simple syrup?


You can use your sugar syrup any way you want - about 15ml in a gin and tonic or gin and lemonade will add a gorgeous layer of flavour, colour and sweetness. Play around with the way you best like to use it!

Beyond that, many cocktail recipes suggest using a little simple syrup to add a balancing note of sweetness to the drink, as well as a hint of flavour or colour from any added ingredients.

Here are three easy and delicious gin cocktail recipes using simple syrup to get you started:

  • French 75 - This classic sparkling cocktail combines gin, champagne, lemon juice and simple syrup for an elegant drink with a hidden kick!

  • Rosemary & Thyme Collins - A beautiful sweet-citrus gin cocktail infused with very subtle notes of rosemary and thyme. It’s all the flavours of Provence in a glass!

  • Strawberry gin lemonade - For those that don’t like tonic, this sweet, easy cocktail makes a great alternative