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Cocktails: Flavored Simple Syrup—Four Ways

Nothing adds a touch of whimsy to a hand-crafted cocktail like flavored simple syrup. These flavor-infused syrups are like an instant upgrade for cocktails, sparkling water, or iced tea. They can even be used to flavor iced coffee, homemade popsicles, or sno-cones!

I love making up small batches of simple syrups to indulge my latest food obsession (mama needs her spicy ginger fix) or experiment with DIY mixology. You can use the same simple method and ratio to make simple syrup in almost any flavor imaginable, so this DIY is perfect for creative home cooks and mixologists, like me.


Try experimenting with seasonal ingredients, fragrant herbs, and edible flowers to create fabulous blends for craft cocktails and beverages. The combinations can be really fun. Think lavender vanilla, strawberry ginger, or rose hibiscus. There are so many cool possibilities!

All you need to make a flavored simple syrup is sugar, water, aromatic ingredients, a saucepan, and a fine mesh strainer. That last item is key. Using a super fine mesh will help keep solid particles like chunks and pulp out of your syrup. This will not only make your syrup prettier and more tasty—it will also help the syrup last longer in the fridge. You’re homemade syrups should stay fresh in the fridge for about three to six months.

Fresh Ginger Simple Syrup

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
4 tablespoons fresh grated ginger

Lemon Hibiscus Simple Syrup

3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 cup water
juice and zest from 1 fresh lemon
1/4 cup dried hibiscus

Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup water
1 vanilla bean
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Honey Saffron Simple Syrup

1 cup water
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup sugar
1 pinch dried saffron

Combine the dry ingredients in a small saucepan.

Add liquid ingredients (except for vanilla extract—that should be added at the very end) and bring to boil over high heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Simmer over low heat for about ten minutes.

Strain and discard the solids. (Except for the honey saffron syrup… I like to leave the saffron petals in the syrup since they are so pretty!) Add extract, if using.

Let the liquid cool to room temperature, transfer to bottle, and refrigerate for three to six months. By the way, if you are wondering where to get your hands on cute glass bottles, I found mine here.

To use, shake well, and then add a splash of syrup to club soda, cocktails, iced tea, or pretty much any liquid you’d like to gussy up. You can also try using more than one syrup at a time to create tasty blends like saffron vanilla or ginger hibiscus! My personal favorite way to enjoy flavored simple syrups is with vodka, sparkling mineral water, and crushed ice.

I hope you have a blast mixing up your own super crafty cocktails this summer. Don’t forget to try these in your next party drink. They would be AMAZING in boozy popsicles, jello shots, or frozen sangrias. Oh boy—is it happy hour yet? xo. Mary Helen

Credits // Author and Photography: Mary Helen Leonard. Photos edited with the NEW A Beautiful Mess Lightroom Actions.


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