How To Make Simple Syrup In The Microwave & More Easy Recipes

Also, a complete guide to simple syrup.

Selection of simple cocktails on a gray marble counter

(Photo: Robert Caruso)

If you want to unlock the Impressive House Bartender achievement, you need to make a lot of Simple Syrup. You’ll find it in countless drink recipes, ranging from the classics — like this old-fashioned daiquiri — to more advanced contemporary pieces like this savory gin-con and tomato cocktail.

What is simple syrup made of? Basically, it’s just sugar dissolved in water. what does it do It adds sweetness and balance to drinks and can also add some body.

Like many things in the world of cocktails, simple syrup can be as simple as you want it to be — or as complicated. Unless you’re always super ambitious when it comes to kitchen supplies, you might be wondering: How do you make simple syrup, well… the easiest?

Alright, let’s go through your options – here are a few ways to make simple syrup, ranging from easy to definitely not-so-easy.

The standard, fairly basic, easy syrup recipe

Yes, it’s that simple.


  • 1 cup water (distilled or filtered is best)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar*


Place the water and sugar in a saucepan or small saucepan and heat over medium-high heat; Heat gently and stir until the sugar dissolves. Set aside and let cool before use.

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Note: Boiling the syrup will allow water vapor to escape from the pot, affecting your carefully measured sugar to water ratio.

*Note on variations for plain “2:1” syrup

Bartenders call the above syrup “1:1” because it has a one-to-one ratio of sugar to water. If the recipe calls for “rich simple syrup” (aka – wait for it – “2:1”), double the amount of sugar. You’ll also likely need to stir a little longer to dissolve it.

Also, can you use that fancy raw/cane/brown sugar you find at the health food store instead of white granulated sugar? Yes, and they’re great in rum drinks. Experiment away.

Gin con tomato cocktail sits against a red background with a basil garnish protruding from the top of the glass

The Gin con Tomato cocktail combines simple syrup with gin, tomato water, basil and balsamic vinegar.

How To Store Plain Syrup (And How Long It Keeps)

Refrigerate your simple syrup in a sealed container to keep it fresh. Adding a small amount of vodka (e.g. a teaspoon per cup) will help it last longer.

And how long does plain syrup keep? Expert opinions vary quite a bit on this question. For simple 1:1 syrup, they say anything from four days to “months.” (And syrup lasts up to six months for 2:1.) Since sugar is relatively cheap and simple syrup is fairly easy to make, you can also stick to the conservative side of this range—if in doubt, throw it away.

The super lazy recipe: Simple syrup in the microwave

Time pressure? Do you feel ambitious? Are you exploring your goblin mode? Make simple syrup the easiest way: in the microwave.

Here’s how: Mix equal parts sugar and water in an uncovered microwavable container (1/2 cup of each is more than enough for a round of drinks for a small group). Stir to combine, microwave for about 10 seconds, and stir again to ensure the sugar dissolves in the water. Let it cool and you’re done.

An old fashioned is a classic way to use plain syrup.

The even lazier way – but you have to plan ahead

Buy it. Making cocktails at home has gone mainstream, which means you can get plain syrup in bottles from major retailers like grocery stores (or better yet), cocktail specialty stores, and independent distilleries. Toronto’s Cocktail Emporium offers perhaps Canada’s largest selection of pre-made simple syrups.

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The main advantages of bottled syrup: First, it will be waiting on your shelf and ready when you need it. Two, no dishes.

Some cocktail professionals and enthusiasts giggle at the idea of ​​buying something that’s so easy to make. But do they come to your house to clean up? You are not.

Advanced courses for cocktail lovers

Professional bartenders, and (really) avid hobbyists for their part, will make things decidedly uneasy — for example, adding extra ingredients like gum arabic or food acids (citric, lactic, and malic) to their simple syrups to give them a super-silky texture texture or a thirst-quenching touch.

How about an example that you can do relatively easily? Nineteenth-century bartenders (and their followers in our day) used gum syrup, also spelled gomme syrup, instead of ordinary rich plain syrup to give their cocktails a fuller, luxurious mouthfeel. It uses gum arabic, a natural tree sap that you can find online or through Caribbean grocers.

Gomme syrup recipe

How to prepare: Dissolve 60 grams (two ounces) of gum arabic in 1 cup (8 ounces/240 ml) of warm, filtered water and leave in a sealed container for 1-2 days while the gum arabic dissolves. Then proceed to make 2:1 simple syrup according to the instructions above, i.e. use the water-gum-arabic mixture instead of plain water and add 2 cups of sugar.

Then try it the old fashioned way. To simple pleasures.

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