Make your own sugar syrup – it’s simple

Sugar syrup goes under many different names. That’s the first thing to say. Simple syrup, gomme syrup (as the French refer to it) and sugar syrup.

And many cocktail recipes call for a little of it, especially the old prohibition style cocktails. You will need it for your Whiskey Sour for instance, or your French 75. Both of these combine sugar syrup with lemon juice and it is true that this pairing elevates what might otherwise be a bit of a dull drink, to something quite sublime.

Sugar syrup can be bought already bottled
Sugar syrup can be bought already bottled

So you either buy a bottle commercially. Monin and others sell it with it’s additives and stuff. Or you make your own. Admittedly, it’s not very expensive to buy commercially (you might pay around £6 for a 70cl bottle.) But still not as inexpensive or quick to get hold of as making your own.

How to make sugar syrup

A mixologist friend first introduced me to this when he discovered that simply by adding some sugar to an equal volume of cold water, and bottling it, you can make your own sugar syrup. The sugar will of course dissolve although shaking the bottle vigorously from time to time helps speed up the process.

I have modified this slightly. I find it works quicker if you use boiling water. The sugar dissolves quicker and it also has the benefit that it lasts longer. If you’re keeping it for a few days, watch for white strands of mould which will eventually develop in it. Using boiling water means it lasts longer I find.

Sugar syrup 

Suggested formulation is as follows;

  1. Use a good thick sturdy bottle with a secure top.
  2. Sterilise it by rinsing thoroughly with just boiled water.
  3. Measure out equal measures in volume of water and sugar and add them to your bottle. If you’re using a funnel you must pour the sugar in first.
  4. Seal the top, shake vigorously and leave to stand.

Beware – I find it doesn’t last long, about a week usually, before you start to see spores growing in the solution. So keep an eye on it and bin it as soon as you notice this.

What next? Well you can make your own flavoured syrups of course. But I haven’t started experimenting with this yet, so we’ll save that for another day.

I’m more into infusions at the moment. Cheers


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