As with granulated sugar, there’s room for confusion here too, but there are two basic styles to choose from – Simple Syrup & Rich Simple Syrup
Although they both contain the same ingredients of water and sugar, it’s really important to understand what style you are making or buying and most importantly, which one you’re using…if you don’t, your recipes are going to be undrinkable.
When you search online for recipes, many say it takes 30 minutes to make, with an overly complicated and elaborate process. In reality, it takes hardly any time, and if you’re planning to make some drinks at home, it’s a really useful ingredient to have in the house…it’s also cheap, and lasts for a long time!
Simple Syrup – This is traditionally made at a (1:1) ratio of 1 part sugar to 1 part water and should take about 3 minutes to prepare.
Rich Simple Syrup – Same as the Simple Syrup (above) but has a ratio of (2:1) 2 parts sugar to 1 part of water, hence the ‘Rich’ descriptor. It too should take about 3 minutes to prepare.
This should take about… 3 minutes.
How to make Rich Simple Syrup (2:1)
Depending on how much you need and what equipment you have in your kitchen, use cups, thimbles, jugs or whatever you have, to measure out 2 parts of standard white sugar or caster sugar. Then, using the same container, measure out 1 part hot water, heated in a kettle or pan.
Add to pan
Stir the sugar and water together in a jug or pan until the sugar crystals are dissolved and the mixture looks clear and glossy. If you are using granulated sugar, the dissolving process will require more aggressive stirring and it can be made easier by using hotter (near boiling) water. Caster sugar on the other hand, makes the process even easier by placing less importance on the temperature requirements of the water used.
Pour into sterilised bottle
Finally, pour the mixture, while still warm, into a sterilised bottle or jar.
Date, label and store in the fridge
Once cooled, If you want it to last longer, keep it in a sealed container in the fridge.
Rich Simple Syrup v Simple Syrup?
Which should you pick? Well, to some degree it comes down to personal choice, but if you were to ask us (and if you’re reading this we assume you might be interested in our advice) use Rich Simple Syrup. Why? Well, here’s a few reasons for you:
Less water in the syrup means greater control over the dilution in your cocktails. This is helpful when you need to add more syrup to adjust the balance of your cocktail after you have processed the ingredients and therefore already added all the dilution you wanted to add.
The higher sugar content will help with preservation. This is especially important when you’re making more labour intensive or expensive syrups using fruits, nuts, herbs etc…which you want to last longer and have to make less often.
The thicker texture and higher viscosity of the Rich Simple Syrup, makes it easier to handle when you are measuring and adding small amounts. This will help you with finding the perfect balance point of your cocktail.
Final watch out:
Simple Syrup contains half the sugar of Rich Simple Syrup. This means that you need to use twice as much, by volume, to balance your cocktail.
This is best explained when we look at the classic ratio for a sour.
Using a Rich Simple Syrup, the classic SOUR has a ratio of – 2 : 1 : 1/2
2 Base Spirit / 1 Fresh Citrus / ½ Rich Simple Syrup
However, using a standard Simple Syrup, that ratio needs to change to –> 2 :1 : 1
2 Base Spirit / 1 Fresh Citrus / 1 Simple Syrup
Therefore, if you don’t know what syrup is being asked for in the recipe, the balance of your drink is in danger of being awful. So, make sure you know what you have, and what’s being asked for!
It has many different names, but whatever you call it, this refers to those times when you’re up against it and you just need to ‘make things happen’.
When it comes to making a sugar syrup, “System D” means busting out your blender, a trick we picked up on our travels which removes the need for any heat source, saucepan, or spatula to make a sugar syrup. Instead, all you need is something to measure out your water & sugar, plus the brute force of high speed blender blades!
Simply measure out sugar and water into your vortex blender / bar blender and blend together at high speed until all the sugar is dissolved. Then store in a labelled sterile jar or bottle and THAT’S IT! Job done…it’s ready to use and is as good as any other, but super fast and simple!