What Is Simple Syrup And Why Should You Use It.
Simple Syrup is sugar dissolved in water. That’s it. It’s 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 equal part water, and rich is two parts sugar to 1 part water. The clear winner between the two is rich simple syrup, it’s sweeter, last refrigerated longer, and most of the old recipes used rich syrup. Standard 1:1 is kind of the lazy man’s simple syrup, IMO. Advantages to standard simple syrup are it’s easier to make and pours a bit better. Although both taste good, simple syrup is a 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 they look fantastic and many old books call for using them, they don’t dissolve well and end up making a sugary crystal sludge on the bottom of the drink. Simple syrup solves many of the issues of regular white sugar by mixing easily with alcohol. It 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 use 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. Hot water can be saturated more than colder water. At room temperature, 1000 mLs of water becomes completely saturated with around 2000 grams of sugar, which is 2:1 and even though it is technically possible with water in a perfect environment. Even with filtered water, the sugar fights back and competes with other dissolved minerals in a typical environment. To reasonably combine sugar and water in a real-world setting, the water has to be able to hold 2x the sugar you are asking it to keep at a particular temperature. Near boiling temperatures, 1000 mLs of water can contain 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.
Should I Buy Simple Syrup Or Make It?
Always make your own simple syrup. Never buy this. It is just two ingredients: water and sugar. On top of that, most store-bought simple syrups are the cheaper standard simple syrup. Not even the better rich simple syrup. Most folks already have sugar at home, which saves a trip to the store, but if you need to go to the store, 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. There are countless things you can make with a bag of granulated sugar.
What Is The 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 same day you plan to use it instead of ahead of time. Standard simple syrup will last about one week in the fridge, and rich simple syrup will last 3 to 4 weeks in the refrigerator. Toss it out once you start to see any cloudiness, regardless of how old it is. That’s mold growing, and the syrup has gone bad. Take it from some who 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 reasons you want to use something else. Whether to impart additional flavors or for dietary reasons, here is a list of simple syrup substitutes.
- Honey Syrup: Honey is about 1/2 sweeter than regular sugar. Try mixing this 2:1 (200 grams of honey to 100 grams of water) to get a syrup similar to a rich simple syrup. Try this recipe here for simple honey syrup.
- Maple Syrup: Maple syrup is around 3x as sweet as regular sugar. Try mixing this 3/4:1 (75 grams maple syrup to 100 grams water) 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: Pure 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 a 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 a 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 a rich simple syrup.