This week’s cocktail requires that you have simple syrup on hand. Don’t rush out and buy a bottle, though. As the name suggests it is dirt simple to make at home. Plus, when making syrup at home you can control the base ingredients and tweak your resulting cocktails as you see fit. I usually keep three types on hand: plain simple syrup, rich syrup and demerara syrup. Perhaps on the obsessive side, but I am a cocktail hacker after all. However, for the home bar the only one I see as essential is plain simple syrup.
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Water
1) Place sugar and water in a jar/bottle and shake until the sugar fully dissolves
See? Simple as can be. The same proportions and technique can be used to make demerara syrup. Demerara sugar is granulated, unrefined, natural sugar. You’ve most likely seen it at coffee shops for adding to your favorite morning beverage. The resulting syrup is a nice brown (see the picture above) and has more of a natural sugar flavor than you’ll get with white sugar. I find it works really well with dark rum drinks.
Some recipes may call for rich simple syrup (or rich syrup). Rich syrup is great for cocktails where you want sweetness but don’t want the additional dilution that plain simple syrup provides. Rich syrup is just as simple as simple syrup, just has more sugar. Note though that this one must be heated to dissolve all the sugar.
Rich Simple Syrup:
2 cups Sugar
1 cup Water
1) Place sugar and water in a sauce pan
2) Heat over medium heat until the water starts to simmer
3) Stir the mixture until the sugar dissolves
I suggest you keep your syrups in the fridge to prolong their shelf life. You can also increase their shelf life by adding 1oz of Everclear to each bottle of syrup. Once you master these recipes you’re ready to take on infused simple syrups. More about that later in the week.