Is your morning coffee bland and boring or your cocktails lacking luster? Try these simple syrup recipes to make your drinks go from blah to wow!
Hello, friends! If you’re like me, and you love flavored drinks, this is the post for you! I have really gotten into making my own simple syrups to jazz up my morning (or afternoon) coffee, and even to add to some alcoholic drinks in the evening. Sometimes, a good simple syrup is all you need to completely change the drink you are having, and make it an absolutely wonderful experience. Today, I’m going to go over what a simple syrup is, how to make it, and some awesome flavors to try in your coffee, cocktails, or teas!
So, what is a simple syrup?
You know when you go into Starbucks (or really any coffee or tea shop) and get a coffee or tea with a couple “pumps” of something? You’re most likely adding flavored simple sugar syrup to your drinks. Sometimes, it’s just a plain sugar syrup, but, what exactly is that? Well, it’s simple! The basic recipe for simple syrup is to take equal parts water and sugar of some sort, and simmer it until the sugar dissolves. Add in whatever flavor you choose (or none at all!) and keep it on the heat until the syrup coats the back of a spoon, then cool. Just be careful not to crystalize it by overcooking it!
You can use a variety of sugars, like raw sugar, demerara, turbinado, or even honey to make your simple syrup. It all depends on the flavors you want. Honey, raw or regular sugar will enhance the spice flavors you use, while demerara and turbinado will bring in a molasses note. As for what flavors you can add, the possibilities are endless! You can mix in spices, herbs, fruits, and even tea leaves if you want! With that in mind, let’s look at some yummy ways to make simple syrup, shall we?
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Simple Syrup Recipes for Coffees
Lavender Honey: Oh man, I’ve been making this one for a while now and I can’t tell you how amazing it is. It’s my favorite simple syrup for coffee. I had a lavender simple syrup I used to make, but this one with honey is even better. It’s got a light floral note from the lavender, and it’s just sweet enough to work wonderfully in cold brewed iced coffees (which I’m a little obsessed with).
To make this recipe, Sarah at offbeat + inspired used half a cup each of sugar, honey, and water, with two teaspoons of fresh lavender buds (or, one teaspoon of dried). Simmer until sugar is dissolved, like any other simple syrup recipe, and when the syrup can coat the back of a spoon, it’s ready to cool. Strain out the lavender so the syrup lasts longer, or add in a teaspoon of vodka to the mix to help preserve it (thanks to Quora user Tory Pratt for that advice!). Just a note here: the longer you leave the buds in, the more intense the flavors will be. This is the same for any flavored simple syrup recipe listed here. For stronger flavors, you can also add in more of the flavoring when it’s simmering!
Vanilla Bean and Cinnamon: Talk about making your morning java something spectacular! The sweetness of the vanilla bean mixed with cinnamon is going to be amazing. There is a lot of cinnamon in that pot, though, so this syrup will be strong. You won’t need to add a lot of this syrup recipe to your coffee, unless you’re like my uncle and cinnamon is basically your life blood. This would be great in hot or iced coffees. When making your simple syrup, toss in a vanilla bean and some cinnamon sticks. Strain them out when your syrup has cooled, or you could leave them in there to keep intensifying the flavors. Just remember that if you leave your spices in the flavored syrups, they won’t last as long!
Via Dazed & Infused
Chocolate Cardamom: This is one of the flavored syrup recipes I haven’t tried, but seriously need to. I don’t think I’ve ever had cardamom, but it’s supposed to taste fantastic. I love mocha coffees, and this chocolate syrup would definitely give that vibe! Tory Pratt gave me the idea for a chocolate cardamom syrup, and she suggested up to half a cup of cacao nibs and 6 whole cardamom pods per cup of sugar when making this. That would make this nice and chocolatey, and super rich because of the cacao! I’ll keep you posted on how it works out when I make it!
Simple Syrup Recipes for Cocktails & Teas
Via Tori Avey
Lemon Rhubarb: Summertime is when the local farmer’s markets here have lots and lots of rhubarb. A few years ago, I found rhubarb in the frozen fruit and veggie section of the grocery store, and I would toss it in my smoothies to give it a great flavor profile. This year, I was able to buy it fresh, and I saved a lot of it by freezing it. That being said, I totally just bought a couple of stalks, and some lemons. I am definitely trying this out. I’m betting it would be great in green or black teas, and even in certain cocktails. This could even be a great simple syrup for iced tea. The sharp tangy rhubarb flavor mixed with lemon is going to be delicious, I know it. I would go light on the lemon and rhubarb, since they are both tart and tangy, but it’ll be a great flavor combo! I would zest a lemon, and pop in a couple pieces of rhubarb, maybe up to a quarter cup for every cup of sugar. Test it from there!
Vanilla Mint: This is one I make a lot! I love minty coffees, and I love minty drinks. I did have a thing for peppermint mochas, but mostly, just regular ol’ sweet mint simple syrup makes me happy. You can buy fresh mint at almost any grocery store now, or dried mint works too. You’ll need about a quarter cup of fresh, or half that of dried to every cup of sugar. I toss in a vanilla bean as well, because it enhances the sweetness of the sugar. Plus, I just love vanilla beans. You can split the bean and scrape out the seeds, or just crack it and toss it in, which is what I do. I love having all the little seeds in the syrup. It makes it look so pretty. You can also use a variety of mints for this. Peppermint leaves, sweet mint, or even chocolate mint if you want. Have fun with it! They all taste great, as I have made them all myself, and needless to say they were quickly used up, whether in coffee or cocktails!
Orange Clove: This is going to be another yummy simple syrup for cocktails and teas! It’s going to taste like fall, and I’m kind of excited for that. I would take an extra step and use blood oranges to add another element of sweetness. Plus, blood oranges are my favorite orange ever. I really need to find a good supplier for those here in central Texas. But, I digress. You can use the zest or the meat of the orange in this, or both, but you don’t need much. You won’t even need the whole orange, so you can use it in something else or eat it! You’ll need about 4 whole cloves per cup of sugar as well. And, if you want it stronger, you can leave the ingredients together longer, or add more!
There you have it, friends! Some awesome simple syrups to try out in your drinks! Remember to keep them in an airtight container and in the fridge so they last longer, and you can keep them fresh! Do you have any simple syrup recipes you use? Share with us in the comments below, or just tell me your favorite from this post. Don’t forget to share this post with your family and friends, too! And as always, stay creative, my friends!
**Featured image via Little Figgy Food