Simple syrup is a sweet, easily dissolved liquid that is perfect for cocktails or sodas. It's usually around a 1:1 ratio of sugar and water. The water is heated enough for the sugar to melt, then the mixture is cooled. The simple syrup can then be used to sweeten drinks without any of the grittiness that can occur when using plain sugar.
There are many types of simple syrup, depending on what type of sugar you use and whether or not there are any spices or herbs used during the process. You can find out even more information from my book on Infusions.
This is the basic recipe for simple syrup. It just uses plain granulated white sugar to make it. I call for 1.5 cups of water with 2 cups of sugar for an extra-sweet syrup, but you can vary the ratio as much as you want. You can also use different types of sugar, depending on what end flavor you want.
Combine the water and sugar in a pot and heat over medium-high heat while stirring occasionally until the sugar has completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool. The simple syrup can be stored in the refrigerator for several weeks.
This is a simple spin on the basic simple syrup. It uses brown sugar to add deep molasses notes.
Combine the water and brown sugar in a pot and heat over medium-high heat while stirring occasionally until the brown sugar has completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool. The brown sugar simple syrup can be stored in the refrigerator for several weeks.
If you add herbs or spices to the water as you make the simple syrup they will infuse their flavors into the end result. This can be taken in a variety of ways.
You can take the step of flavoring the syrups one step further and create really flavorful syrups. There are many uses for this, including making the base for sodas, coffee syrups, and other sweet and tasty mixtures. These syrups usually involve heating more ingredients in the water, and sometimes adding the sugar at the end, once the infusion of flavor has finished.