If you’ve ever made a cocktail, chances are you’ve heard of simple syrup. The name “simple” couldn’t be more accurate, because making it requires only two ingredients—sugar and water. It’s basically a liquefied form of sugar. When water and sugar are heated together, the granulated sugar dissolves, creating a syrup that can be added smoothly into beverages. Plain simple syrup is great to have on hand, and it’s a main ingredient in many cocktail recipes. Recently, my friend Ashley told me about infusing simple syrups with fresh herbs to add flavor (Ashley also helped me with my vodka infusion blog). I love anything to do with fresh herbs, so I asked her to try making some in the kitchen with me. This post is the result of our crazy herbal syrup experiment!
Infusing simple syrups is a great way to add a sweet herbal essence to drinks and recipes. Herb-infused syrups can be used for sweetening cocktails, adding flavor to tea, or even drizzling over a bowl of fresh fruit. Since they can be made with just 3 ingredients – water, sugar and fresh herbs – chances are you have everything you need right in your kitchen. Simple syrups are bottled and sold in stores, but it’s much easier and cheaper to make them yourself. And why not? Simple syrup is taken to a new level by infusing it; the fresh herbs add a sophisticated flavor and essence. There’s something really fun about making a drink from scratch, especially when you use an herb infused simple syrup as your sweetener. It will give your cocktails a lovely scent and fresh flavor that your guests will absolutely love.
Not a drinker? Never fear! Herbal simple syrups can also add a touch of sophistication to alcohol-free beverages. When you’re hosting a party, some of your guests may not want to drink a cocktail. Add infused herbal syrups to sparkling water, tea, soda, or juice to create a special “mocktail” that anybody can enjoy… even kids!
I’ve shared the step-by-step process of infusing simple syrup below. It only takes about 35 minutes. Once you’re done, you can bottle your infused syrup, label it, and keep it in the refrigerator for future use. Or, you can give it as a crafty homemade gift to somebody you love. These syrups would make an excellent addition to a Michloach Manot basket. Soon I’ll be sharing some cocktail recipes that feature these herb infused simple syrups. Stay tuned!
Recipe Ideas for Herb Infused Simple Syrups
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- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
Herbal Flavor Options
- Choose 1 herb per batch of Simple Syrup:
- 5 fresh basil sprigs (5-7 inches long), about 1.5 oz.
- 4 fresh rosemary sprigs (5-7 inches long), about .5 oz.
- 1 large handful fresh mint sprigs, about 1.5 oz.
- 6 fresh thyme sprigs (3-4 inches long), about .5 oz.
- 8 bay leaves
You will also need
- Small saucepan, fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth, funnel, 8 ounce glass bottle or jar with tight fitting lid
- Carefully rinse your herbs clean. You will use one type of herb for each batch of simple syrup. Here, I am making three batches - basil, rosemary, and mint.
- Bring water to a boil. Add the sugar and whisk into the boiling water. Continue whisking till sugar is dissolved.
- Add herb of choice to the syrup. Let it boil for 60 seconds.
- Remove from heat and let the herbs steep for about 30 minutes as the syrup cools. Use a slotted spoon to remove the herbs from the syrup.
- Pour the cooled syrup through a fine mesh strainer or multiple layers of cheesecloth into a glass bottle or jar.
- Close the bottle and put a tag on it so you don't forget which flavor syrup you've made.
- Store herb infused simple syrup in the refrigerator. Add to your favorite drinks for a sophisticated, herbal essence and added sweetness.