The Mix Lab’s Guide To: “Complex” Simple Syrup

I have decided to add an on going series to my blog, entitled “The Mix Lab’s Guide”. In this section I will guide you through the process of creating various homemade ingredients. This will include syrups, infused liquors, and anything else that can be used to enhance a cocktail with quality ingredients. I hope you can use this to increase your cocktail making experience.

Simple syrup is, like it’s name rather simple to make and is an essential ingredient in a vast majority of cocktails. Furthermore it is the base for the majority of flavored syrups and shrubs.

Simple Syrup
1Cup of Sugar
1 Cup of Water
Heat water and stir to combine the sugar. Once the sugar is fully incorporated turn the heat off and allow to cool before bottling. Add about a .5oz of vodka to help preserve the syrup and keep refrigerated.

As you can see in the above recipe I use a 1:1 ratio when making my simple syrup. Sometimes you will see some people use a 2:1 ratio for their simple syrup. I believe that in order to keep it “simple” the ratio should remain at 1:1 unless specifically called for. All the recipes found on my blog use a 1:1 ratio; unless I mention rich simple syrup, in which case that will be a 2:1 ratio.

Often when making simple syrup I simply use white sugar because it imparts the least amount of additional flavor to a cocktail and thus only imparts sweetness without additional flavor. Sometimes I like to sub out the white sugar for richer sugars such as Turbinado, Demerara, or Muscovado Sugar, thus creating “Complex” Simple Syrup.

Turbinado sugar is a relatively unprocessed cane sugar, unrefined and crystalized through evaporation. The crystals tend to be large and tan with hints of caramel.
Demerara sugar is very similar to Turbinado sugar in both color and texture yet has a stronger molasses note with hints of toffee.

Muscovado sugar is an unrefined sugar in which the molasses is not removed during production. Its color is a rich dark brown and has a texture of wet sand, much stickier/wetter than other brown sugars. It has the strongest molasses flavor out of the above 3.


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4 thoughts on “The Mix Lab’s Guide To: “Complex” Simple Syrup

  1. My life changed when I learned that simple syrup can be made without additional heat. Equal parts sugar and water in a bottle or jar can be shaken vigorously and everything will dissolve!

    1. There are 3 ways that I have come across to make simple syrup. There is the boil water method, the heat the water method just enough to make dissolving the sugar easier, and the simple shake method without heat. The choice is yours. Based on your experience why do you prefer the without heat method?

      1. Simply because it’s so easy and it doesn’t require me to dirty any dishes. I think I once heard that doing it this way somehow yields a worse syrup, but I’ve yet to have a problem.

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