Would you want to elevate your coffee, baking, and cocktails without doing a bunch of extra work? I’m thinkin you’re thinkin- YES. Who wouldn’t want to jazz up their every day, especially around the holidays? I promise it’s as simple as homemade simple syrup. Really.
Homemade simple syrup can be made a number of ways in about 5 minutes from start to finish. I’ll spill one of my favorite recipes below but ALSO provide a few how tos that will help you create your own unique flavors, provide ideas on how to use, as well as inform you about proper long term storage.
Two Types of Homemade Simple Syrups
You’ve probably heard about simple syrup which is why you’re here to being with. But did you know there are two types of simple syrup? The classic 1:1 ratio of water and sugar AND a rich simple with a 2:1 ratio of water and sugar.
Why would I want to make a sweeter homemade simple syrup? Some folks, especially those who run in the cocktail world, prefer rich simples because of their viscosity (thickness on the palate) with provides a more luxurious almost velvety feel and requires less dilution of the liquor due to less syrup being used. BONUS: rich homemade simple syrups have a longer shelf life, lasting up to 6 months if stored in an air tight container in the refrigerator, where as classic simples keep well for 1-2 months tops in those same conditions.
Two Methods for Making Homemade Simple Syrups
Since all simple syrups start off with water and require that said water to be heated, you are left with two options: the stove and the microwave. Would I recommend using one over the other? Yes and No. In my opinion it depends on what you are infusing your water with.
Herbal tea bags, like the recipe I provided above? The microwave would work just fine! Make sure you are using a safe container and handling with care as you’ll be handing boiling water and moving from one surface to another. For 1 cup of water, my microwave takes about 2 minutes 30 seconds to reach boiling point.
A few fun herbal and floral tea bag option could include: rose, hibiscus, jasmine, peppermint, cinnamon, ginger, and lavender. You need 2 bags of tea per 8 ounces of water… so why not mix it up and try rose and hibiscus together? Or cinnamon and ginger?
Interested using whole spices like cinnamon stick, cloves, anise seed? While you can certainly heat water in the microwave, I’d suggest the stovetop. This will allow you to simmer on low for much longer, maintaining the necessary heat required to extract maximum flavor. I’ve found simple syrups made with whole spices are much more pungent when made on the stove and that’s just the way I like it!
A few whole spices used in cooking that are also great for simple syrups could include: cinnamon stick, cloves, star anise, nutmeg, and cardamom. Same deal as the tea bag method up above… mix and match to your hearts content. Clove and cardamom. Cinnamon and start anise too.
After consistently finding myself in needs of smaller reusable containers... I finally purchased these. I've used for several months and they haven't disappointed yet! While I mainly use them to store homemade simple syrups, I've also filled a couple with homemade limoncello and passed out as gifts. The collapsable funnel is a fab added bonus and has been a lifesaver several times.
Properly Storing Your Homemade Simple Syrups
Whether or not you chose to make a classic homemade simple syrup or a rich simple syrup, you’ll need to store them the exact same way. In an air tight container. I’ve found the best storage to be the above 8 ounce glass bottles. They pour extremely well which makes them easy to use for mixing drinks or drizzling into creams or on top of cakes. The wide bottoms make them nice and sturdy. AND most importantly, they hold an extremely tight seal. Even when being accidentally knocked over… which is only a matter of time for most folks.
While I might clearly have a favorite way of storing liquids, you very well might have your own! Or choose to reuse pasta jars or Tupperware. However you decide to approach this- the key is sterile and airtight. A combo that just can’t be beat if you want your homemade simple syrup creations to last weeks and weeks in your fridge.
Why exactly is an airtight container important? The short: they keep moisture, odor, and air out. Which is key to preserving freshness and slowing down the bacteria that spoils food. For the long: I’m dropping this comprehensive article that I found helpful in my own research!
Simple Uses for Your Simple Syrups
Your creativity is the limit on this one. Really. Anything you make that requires sugar in any form can easily be transformed with a few splashes of homemade simple syrup. Does a hot chocolate recipe call for a spoon of sugar? Why not try a spoon of peppermint simple syrup instead and add a bit more if needed?
Does an old fashioned recipe call for agave or a sugar cube? Why not try a spoon of molasses simple syrup and experience a completely different spin on a classic?
Maybe your blueberry tart recipe tells you to mix your cream cheese with honey… how about mixing a lavender simple syrup instead. HELLO. That would be next level on every level!
Drizzling a Tablespoon or two of apple ginger simple syrup into heavy whipping cream while your mixer is beating it into a fluff. Talk about the most perfect whipped cream addition to your apple and pumpkin pies. Goodness knows folks’ll be going back twice.
From coffee to cocktails to desserts and more. Just a drizzle goes a long way! There really isn’t a more simple way to jazz up the every day than adding a few homemade simple syrup creations to your fridge!! Now it’s up to you to go have fun and play!!
Let Me Know
Has this sparked your imagination?! Are you picturing all the ways you can use my tips this fall and winter… heck even spring and summer? I hope this my homemade simple syrup recipe and ideas brings joy to your coffees, desserts, and cocktails all year long.
Maybe you’ve even thought of a few other ways you’re going to play with this concept. Spill below in the comments, because I wanna hear!!
While you’re at the sharing and commenting, please Save to Pinterest or Share on Facebook. I need all the support I can get to keep on growing this dream of mine. A place where practical beats perfect- and simple, delicious food is a lifestyle. A place where together, we can begin filling homes and tables with joy.
Hugs, because handshakes are awkward~