Simple syrup (sugar and water) is a key component of a whole host of cocktails, and is, as the name suggests, so simple that you may as well make it at home rather than splash out on the pre-made stuff.
The basic ‘recipes’ for simple syrup are one part sugar to one part water; two parts sugar to one part water or four parts sugar to three parts water. Of these the 2:1 version is the standard mix used in the vast majority of cocktails. But a teaspoon of 4:3 simple syrup is roughly equivalent to a teaspoon of sugar, and is my preferred ratio.
As I mainly drink whiskey based drinks, I don’t have a problem with using any left over sugar I have lying around. If you’re looking to make syrup for use in clear drinks (such as a Mojito), you might want to stick to white cane sugar to avoid getting a yellowish hue!
To make the syrup:
- Add four parts sugar and three parts water to a pan.
- Gently heat and stir until all the sugar is dissolved.
- Pour into a clean resealable bottle.
A dash or two of vodka will help the mixture to keep longer if you’re not a prolific drinker as it will prevent the the growth of bacteria or mould. As a result, the mix should keep for an indefinite period (especially if refrigerated).
If you’re looking to experiment, consider adding vanilla, lavender, cinnamon or some loose leaf tea to the mix and create a new flavour profile for your syrup.
Sour mix is a key ingredient for a world of sour drinks (think Margarita, Whiskey Sour and Cosmopolitan). It is almost as easy to make as simple syrup, as all it requires is the addition of lemon juice:
- Add two parts lemon juice and one part lime juice to two parts of your simple syrup.
- Stir well and pour into a clean resealable bottle.
Use the sour mix in place of the sugar and lemon/lime juice where required.