The sweet additive has such an easy “recipe” that they should call it stupidly simple syrup. Because it’s so quick and flexible, you can make variations on it with just about any flavor. Got an orange laying around? Peppercorns? A rose, perhaps? You’re a cup of sugar away from artisanal cocktails.
This is a great way to enjoy flavored cocktails without having to rush out for fresh ingredients. (Sometimes, a girl just needs a strawberry margarita at midnight. In February). These syrups will last for up to three months when refrigerated. (We even like to pour some into ice cube trays to add a little flair to our post-work, pre-party gin and tonic.)
Read on for the basic steps, and our three favorite variations — plus, the cocktails to use ‘em in!
2 cups white sugar
1 cup water
Step 1: Put water and sugar into a pot and bring to a rapid boil.
Step 2: After one minute, remove from heat and stir in your infusion.
Step 3: Let it cool completely, and strain into a container. What’s simpler than that?
Next stop — Mint Syrup!
Infusion: 1 bunch fresh mint, plus 3-5 leaves to store in the syrup.
This flexible syrup will work in just about any summer cocktail (including these classics). Simply substitute syrup wherever the recipe calls for mint and sugar, or mint and simple syrup.
Strawberry Sake Cocktail
Gin Gin Mule
The Philfer Sting
Hendricks Strawberry Jive
Queens Park Swizzle
Next up? Berry Syrup...
Infusion: 1 cup mixed berries (fresh or frozen)
This might be our favorite infusion. Not only can you mix into any traditional berry cocktail, but it makes a great addition to try out in almost anything. Add a tablespoon to a martini — you'll never look back.
Berry Ginger Cider
Martha (Stewart!)’s Berry Little Cocktail
Finally, sweet 'n' sour Lemon Zest Syrup...
Infusion: zest of one fresh lemon and juice of 1 whole lemon. (Store with a strip of lemon peel in the container.)
This syrup works in So. Many. Drinks. From the classic Gin Fizz to new favorite The Cowboy Martini, we could barely keep this list to one page. And, you'll basically never run out. This ultra-potent syrup packs a punch of sweet and sour with just a teeny dash.
French Kiss (sub for lemonade ice cubes)
Photographed by Chris Baker