Easy Simple Syrup Recipe for Coffee and Cocktails

Simple syrup is a convenient neutral liquid sweetener you can use in coffee, lattes, cocktails, and other specialty drinks. Whip up this easy simple syrup recipe in about 5 minutes with just two ingredients: sugar and water!

You can also make infused variations on simple syrup like my dried lavender simple syrup or vanilla bean syrup. Read more for variation ideas, uses, and storage tips.

Simple syrup in a glass bottle with a gold spout.

Ingredients and ratios

The only ingredients in simple syrup are white granulated sugar and water.

Typically they are in a 1:1 ratio (1 cup of sugar for 1 cup of water) but you can also double the sugar (2:1 ratio) to make a rich simple syrup. Rich simple syrup can be added to a drink in smaller quantities due to the higher concentration, and can be stored for longer.

Storage

Simple syrup made using a 1:1 ratio of sugar to water will create a thin simple syrup, which is what most recipes assume when they call for simple syrup. Unflavored simple syrup will last for at least a month in the fridge.

Rich simple syrup, made with a 2:1 sugar to water ratio, has a significantly longer refrigerator shelf life. Plain rich simple syrup will last at least 6 months in the fridge. If using rich syrup, reduce the amount called for in recipes since it’s extra sweet.

Simple syrup in a glass bottle with a gold spout.

Infused syrups: If you’re infusing herbs or flavors into your syrups, like this dried lavender simple syrup recipe, reduce the storage time by half (two weeks for a 1:1 ratio and 3 months for a rich syrup). Fruit- or juice-infused syrups have an even shorter shelf life.

Freezing: You can freeze your simple syrup for longer (indefinite) storage. Be aware that due to the high sugar content it will not freeze solid like an ice cube, but will be sort of a soft scoopable consistency like half-melted sorbet!

Room temperature: Don’t store your simple syrup at room temperature unless you plan to use it within a few days. Commercial coffee syrups like Torani contain preservatives that allow them to be stored nearly indefinitely at room temperature, and while sugar does act as a natural preservative, it’s not THAT good.

Regardless of whether you store it in the fridge or on the counter, if the syrup looks cloudy or starts to smell off, throw it out!

How to make simple syrup

Making this simple syrup recipe couldn’t be easier! You just add sugar and water to a small saucepan, bring to a simmer, and stir until the sugar is dissolved.

Step by step collage for how to make simple syrup.

After it cools, store in an airtight container in the fridge for at least a month.

Step by step image showing funneling simple syrup into a bottle.

Uses for simple syrup

  • Cocktails: Simple syrup is a standard ingredient in many cocktails, so if you like to mix yourself a drink be sure to have some on hand!
  • Iced tea: When unsweetened iced tea is served with little packets of quick-dissolving sugar substitutes or granulated sugar that stays grainy in a swirl at the bottom of your glass, you don’t really have a good option for sweetening your tea. Since simple syrup is a liquid sweetener you don’t have to worry about it dissolving in a cold drink! You can sweeten the tea with granulated sugar while it’s still hot, but simple syrup allows people to sweeten it to their own taste.
Simple syrup in a glass bottle with a gold spout.
  • Coffee drinks: Hot or iced coffee drinks are great with some neutral sweetener, or you can swap it out for an infused syrup instead!
  • Matcha lattes: If you want to make a sweetened matcha latte without adding extra flavors, simple syrup is the way to go. I use it to make a Starbucks copycat Oatmilk Matcha Latte with Lavender Cream. (And lavender syrup to flavor the cold foam!) My new favorite drink!
  • Quick lemonade: You can make easy single servings of fresh lemonade (or limeade, or orangeade) with a squeeze from a citrus fruit, some water, and simple syrup. If you don’t drink enough to make a big batch this is a great solution! (You can use rosemary-infused simple syrup to make Rosemary Grapefruit Lemonade instead! I HIGHLY recommend it!)

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Simple syrup in a glass bottle with a gold spout.
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Basic Simple Syrup Recipe for Coffee and Cocktails

Simple syrup is a convenient neutral liquid sweetener you can use in coffee, lattes, cocktails, and other specialty drinks. It's easy to whip up in about 5 minutes and only requires two ingredients: sugar and water!
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Course: Pantry staple
Cuisine: American
Yield: 16 tablespoons
Calories: 36kcal
Cook Time:5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup water

Instructions

  • Add sugar and water to a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium high heat, stirring frequently.
  • Cool to room temperature and funnel into a pour bottle or airtight container. This recipe makes about 1 cup of finished simple syrup. Store for at least a month in the refrigerator.

Notes

To make a rich simple syrup, use 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water. This will last at least 6 months in the fridge. Keep in mind: it will be thicker in the fridge and you’ll need to use less of it because it is sweeter!
Add one tablespoon of simple syrup to a cocktail or a glass of iced tea, coffee, or matcha latte for the perfect amount of sweetness!
Tried this recipe?Mention @pinchmeimeating or tag #pinchmeimeating on Instagram!

Nutrition

Calories: 36kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Fat: 0.03g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 0.2mg | Sugar: 9g | Calcium: 0.4mg | Iron: 0.01mg

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