What Is Simple Syrup And Why Should You Use It
Simple Syrup is sugar dissolved in water. Thats is. Its no more complicated than that. The only thing to remember when making simple syrup is there are two kinds of simple syrup. Standard 1:1 syrup, and rich 2:1 syrup. 1:1 is just that, 1 part sugar to an equal part water and rich is 2 parts sugar to 1 part water. The clear winner between the two is rich simple syrup, its sweeter, last refrigerated longer, and most of the old recipes used rich syrup. Standard 1:1 is kinda the lazy mans simple syrup IMO. Advantages to standard simple syrup is its easier to make and pours a bit better. Although both taste good and simple syrup is great way to add sweetness to a drink without changing its flavor.
The reason for using simple syrup, instead of just adding granulated sugar or sugar cubes, is it helps sugar incorporate into other liquids easier and much faster. Don’t use powdered or confectioners sugar as those are mixed with corn starch to prevent clumping. Some use sugar cubes in their drinks and while look cool and many old books call for using them, they just don’t dissolve well and end up just making a sugary crystal sludge on the bottom of the drink. Simple syrup solves many of the issues of regular white sugar by mixing easy, is easily measured in a jigger, is a consistent ingredient, and helps you work faster with less effort. There are no downsides to using simple syrup but many to using sugar cubes or granulated sugar.
Do You Need To Use Hot Water To Make Simple Syrup
It depends on whether you are making rich or standard simple syrup. Rich simple syrup requires hot water to make it and standard simple syrup does not. It all comes down to the concentration of sugar. Hotter water can be saturated more than colder water and at room temperature 1000 mLs of distilled water becomes completely saturated with around 2000 grams of sugar. Which is 2:1 and even thought it is technically possible with distilled water in a perfect environment. In a normal environment, even with filtered water, the sugar fights back and is competing with other dissolved minerals. To reasonably combine sugar and water in a real world environment, the water has to be able to hold 2x the sugar you are asking it to hold at a particular temperature. Near boiling temperatures 1000 mLs of distilled water can hold around 4000 grams of sugar. Thus it’s reasonable to dissolve equal parts sugar and water at room temperature and 2:1 sugar and water at near boiling temperatures. Check out this handy chart for the solubility of sugar in water at various temperatures.
Buy It Or Make It
Always make your own simple syrup. Never ever buy this. It is literally just two ingredients. Water and sugar. On top of that most store bought simple syrups are the cheaper standard simple syrup too. Not even the better rich simple syrup. Most folks already have sugar at home so that saves a trip to the store but if you need to go to the store then just buy a bag of sugar instead of a bottle of syrup and make it at home. Simple syrup can only really be used as simple syrup but sugar can be used to bake or cook too. There are countless things you can make with a bag of granulated sugar.
Shelf Life Of Simple Syrup
Again that depends on the kind of simple syrup and whether it is standard or rich. Always refrigerate simple syrup but even refrigerated it goes bad pretty fast so make it the day of instead of ahead of time. Standard simple syrup will last about 1 week in the fridge and rich simple syrup will last 3 to 4 weeks in the fridge. Once you start to see any cloudiness regardless of how old it is, toss it out. Thats mold growing and the syrup has gone bad. Take it from some who has had multiple food poisoning and even salmonella once. Don’t mess with turned food.
Simple Syrup Substitutes
While simple syrup is the gold standard in adding a clean natural sweetness to drinks, there can be a couple reasons you want to use something else. whether its to impart additional flavors that plain sugar does not have or for dietary reasons here is a list of simple syrup substitutes.
- Honey Syrup: Honey is about .5x sweeter than regular sugar. Which is a little bit but not by much. Try mixing this 2:1 (200 grams to 100 grams) honey to water to get a syrup similar to rich simple syrup. Try this recipe here for a simple honey syrup.
- Maple Syrup: Maple syrup is around 3x as sweet as regular sugar. Try mixing this 3/4:1 (75 grams to 100 grams) maple syrup to water to get a syrup similar to rich simple syrup.
- Stevia: Stevia is around 100x sweeter than regular sugar. Try mixing this 1 teaspoon (5 g) powdered stevia or 2 teaspoons (10 mLs) liquid stevia to 2 cups (500 mLs) of water to get a syrup similar to rich simple syrup.
- Monk Fruit sweetener: Monk fruit is around 200x sweeter than regular sugar. Try mixing this 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 g) Monk fruit sweetener to 2 cups (500 mLs) of water to get a syrup similar to rich simple syrup.
- Agave syrup: Agave is around 1.5x sweeter than regular sugar. Try mixing this 1:1 agave syrup to water to get a syrup similar to rich simple syrup.
- Coconut sugar: Coconut sugar is the exact same sweetness as regular sugar. Try mixing this 2:1 coconut sugar to water to get a syrup similar to rich simple syrup.
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