How to Make Sugar Syrup for Cocktails at Home


  • Knowing how to make sugar syrup at home is essential if you’re making your own cocktails.
  • It’s easy and customizable to your preferences.
  • The ingredients required are sugar and water.
  • The choice of sugar and water can affect the flavor of the syrup.
  • The ratio of sugar to water should be 1:1.
  • Adding flavor is optional and includes vanilla extract, cinnamon sticks, and citrus peel.
  • Strain and store the syrup in the fridge for up to a month.
  • Sugar syrup can be used in classic cocktails, modern cocktails, and non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Frequently asked questions include the shelf life of homemade sugar syrup, using brown sugar, and adding fruit to the syrup.
How to Make sugar syrup for cocktails
Granulated sugar and sugar cubes in a bowl and sugar in a jar on the table.

Gather Your Ingredients

To make sugar syrup at home, you will need two ingredients: sugar and water.

Choosing Your Sugar

The type of sugar you use will affect the flavor of your syrup. Some popular options include:

White granulated sugar: This is the most common sugar used in sugar syrup. It has a neutral flavor and dissolves easily.

Demerara sugar: This sugar has a light brown color and a subtle molasses flavor. It’s a great option for adding depth to your syrup.

Turbinado sugar: This sugar is less refined than white granulated sugar and has a slightly caramelized flavor.

Choosing Your Water

The type of water you use can also affect the flavor of your syrup. Some options include:

Tap water: This is the most convenient and cost-effective option. However, depending on the quality of your tap water, it can affect the flavor of your syrup.

Filtered water: Using filtered water can improve the taste and clarity of your syrup.

Distilled water: This is the purest form of water and can produce a clean-tasting syrup.

Mixing the Sugar and Water

Once you have chosen your sugar and water, it’s time to mix them together.

Ratio of sugar to water

The ratio of sugar to water should be 1:1. For example, if you want to make one cup of sugar syrup, you will need one cup of sugar and one cup of water.

Heat the water

Heat the water in a saucepan over medium heat. You don’t need to bring it to a boil, just warm it up enough so the sugar will dissolve easily.

Add the sugar

Once the water is warm, add the sugar to the saucepan. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.

Stir until dissolved

Stir the mixture until the sugar is completely dissolved. This should take about five minutes.

Adding Flavor (Optional)

If you want to add more flavor to your sugar syrup, you can do so by adding ingredients such as:

Vanilla extract: Add one teaspoon of vanilla extract to the mixture for a subtle vanilla flavor.

Cinnamon sticks: Add one or two cinnamon sticks to the mixture for a warm, spicy flavor.

Citrus peel: Add the peel of one lemon or orange to the mixture for a bright citrusy flavor.

Straining and Storing Sugar Syrup for Cocktails

Once the sugar is dissolved and any flavorings are added, it’s time to strain and store your syrup.

Strain the syrup

Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer to remove any impurities or flavorings.

Cool the syrup

Let the syrup cool to room temperature before transferring it to a clean bottle or jar.

Store the syrup

Store the syrup in the refrigerator for up to a month.

Using Your Sugar Syrup

Sugar syrup can be used in a variety of cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages.

Classic cocktails

Sugar syrup is a common ingredient in classic cocktails such as the Daiquiri, Old Fashioned, and Tom Collins.

Modern cocktails

Modern cocktails often use sugar syrup as a sweetener, such as in the Margarita and Moscow Mule.

Non-alcoholic beverages

Sugar syrup can be used in non-alcoholic beverages such as iced tea, lemonade, and soda water.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does homemade sugar syrup last?

Homemade sugar syrup can last up to a month when stored in the refrigerator.

Can I use brown sugar to make syrup?

Yes, you can use brown sugar to make syrup. It will give the syrup a richer flavor and color.

Can I add fruit to my sugar syrup?

Yes, you can add fruit to your sugar syrup for a fruity flavor. However, keep in mind that fruit can reduce the shelf life of the syrup.


Making sugar syrup for cocktails at home is an easy and customizable way to elevate your cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages.

By choosing the right sugar and water and adding flavorings, you can create a syrup that suits your taste preferences. With this simple recipe, you can impress your guests with delicious cocktails at home. As experts in mixology and cocktail bartending, we can attest to the importance of using quality ingredients to create the best possible drink. 

Knowing how to make sugar syrup is one of the essential building blocks of building your home bar.