DIY Cocktail Syrups

Cocktail syrups are delicious and can be used to add sweetness and flavor to any cocktail or mocktail. And there’s no need to buy them in the store! I’ll walk you through what you need to know to whip up your own cocktail syrups at home. 

Minimal Effort – Sugar Cocktail Syrups

You can make these cocktail syrups with a coffee mug and a microwave. Place the water in a mug, heat in the microwave until boiling. Remove from microwave and add sweetener, following the ratio and instructions below.  

Note: These are low sugar syrups. I use a 2:1 ratio of water to sweetener. The classic simple syrup recipe is 1:1 water to sweetener. I find I don’t miss the extra sugar.

Here are the ratios for the three syrups I use most in my cocktail recipes: 

Simple Syrup:

Simple syrup adds sweetness but not flavor, and pairs with any spirit. 

Stir 1 part white sugar into 2 parts hot water until sugar is dissolved. (Example: ½ cup sugar in 1 cup hot water.) 

Use it: (Not Quite A) Paloma

Honey Syrup:

Honey syrup pairs nicely with the botanical notes in gins.

It also works well in floral or citrus cocktails. Stir 1 part honey into 2 parts hot water until honey is dissolved. (Example: ¼ cup honey in ½ cup hot water.) 

Use it: Bee’s Knees

Brown Sugar Syrup:

Brown sugar syrup goes well with the smokiness in bourbon. It also works well with apple flavors spirits. 

Stir 1 part brown sugar into 2 parts hot water until brown sugar is dissolved. (Example: ¼ cup brown sugar in ½ cup hot water.) 

Use it: Coffee Old Fashioned

Cinnamon Syrup:

Cinnamon syrup works well in fall and holiday inspired cocktails. 

Stir 1 part white sugar into 2 parts hot water until sugar is dissolved. (Example: ½ cup sugar in 1 cup hot water.) 

Add 2 cinnamon sticks into the sugar water – break them in half if needed to ensure entire cinnamon stick is submerged. Let syrup sit with cinnamon sticks in it for 3-4 hours up to overnight. Remove cinnamon sticks from syrup before using.

Use it: Holiday Spice Martini

Important Note: Always, always cool any syrup to at least room temp before using it in your cocktail.

If you’re really impatient, put your syrup into the freezer for 10 mins. Remove from freezer, stir and test the temperature. If it’s not cold enough, return to the freezer for 10 more minutes. Repeat until syrup is cool/cold. (Freezer cooling method is NOT recommended for cinnamon syrup.)

Easy Cocktail Syrups

A Little More Effort – Berry Cocktail Syrups

Berry syrups require a small saucepan, the stovetop, and a fine mesh strainer, along with a little bit of your time to cook, stir, and strain. These syrups can be mixed with club soda for delicious mocktails or added to spirits for cocktails. 

1 ½ cups fresh ripe berries, cleaned*
½ cup sugar
½ cup water

Combine berries, water, and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

Place a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl. Carefully pour berry mixture into the strainer. Using a spatula, gently press the berry mixture into the strainer until all berries are crushed and all liquid has been pressed through to the bowl below. Discard the berry remnants left in the strainer. Allow the syrup in the bowl to cool before using.

*Chopped strawberries, blueberries, or blackberries work the best.

Use it: Blueberry Mojitos

Berry Syrup