easy simple syrup infusion recipe for cocktails

Celebrity Bartender….Who, Me? Craft Cocktail Recipes

Create your own custom craft cocktails with these easy seasonal infused simple syrups, suitable for happy hours of one or more. 

Create your own custom craft cocktails with these easy seasonal infused simple syrups, suitable for happy hours of one or more.  Click to skip to the recipe

My BFF and I were asked to be “celebrity bartenders” at a meet and greet for pals and neighbors. We were invited to create our favorite cocktail.

This was a bit daunting, as we both prefer wine. However, we rose to the occasion. BFF infused vodka with fresh pineapple and cherries. A shot of this topped with club soda and garnished with the vodka soaked fruit turn out to be a quite the “Ridge Refresher”!

I decided to take a page from the Golden Age of Cocktails (the period between 1860 and Prohibition when most cocktails were invented) and update a few of the classics.

To do this, I focused on simple syrup. Simple syrup is the traditional sweetener in cocktails. You can buy simple syrup in a bottle and keep it in the fridge, or you can make it yourself by combining equal parts sugar and water and boiling until the sugar dissolves. Voila! Simple Syrup!!

The star of my cocktails was my Old Fashion made with a really, really good bourbon, a dash or two of bitters, and a splash of blood orange and sage-infused simple syrup.

Everything was placed into an ice-filled cocktail shaker, and then mixed for several seconds. The liquid was strained into a rocks glass over a huge cube of ice. The drink was garnished with bourbon-marinated fresh cherries and strips of candied blood orange. Yup, it was good!

Here are a few other ideas for simple syrups and their use. Bottoms Up!!

Easy Infused Simple Syrups

Makes: 1 cup of simple syrup

Time: 5 minutes to assemble and several hours to infuse

Ingredients

Blood Orange-Sage Simple Syrup:

1 cup granulated sugar

Juice from 4 blood oranges

1 bunch sage leaves

1 cinnamon stick

Blueberry-Thyme Simple Syrup:

1 cup granulated sugar

1 pint blueberries

1 bunch thyme leaves

Meyer Lemon-Lavender Simple Syrup:

1 cup granulated sugar

Juice from 4 Meyer lemons

1 bunch lavender

Lime-Lime Spearmint Simple Syrup:

1 cup granulated sugar

Juice from 4 limes

1 bunch lime spearmint leaves

For each syrup, place 1 cup sugar into a deep pot with a lid. Pour in 1 cup water. Add the fruit (and in the case of the juices, add in a couple of the squeezed peels) and the herbs and spices. Bring the mixture to a boil to let the sugar dissolve. Put the lid on the pot and reduce the heat to let the syrup simmer for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the syrup sit on top of the stove for several hours. 

Pour the syrup through a fine-mesh colander and into a jar with a seal. Refrigerate for up to several weeks.

Things to Note:

These syrups are perfect for cocktails and mocktails. Use the blood orange-sage syrup to create a super Old Fashion or Manhattan cocktail. Blueberry-thyme updates a traditional Gin Fizz. And lime-lime spearmint takes your next Margarita to new heights!

You can also use simple syrups to sweeten cold drinks like lemonade and iced tea. The Meyer-Lemon Simple syrup is terrific in pink lemonade! 

Another Thing to Note:

You can also use these syrups to sweeten cakes. Poke holes into a pound cake, douse in syrup, and see what comes out!! You can also mix them into your sorbet or ice cream recipes.

Make it My Way:

Anything and everything go into your simple syrup. Don’t stop with these combinations. Create your own!!

Last Thing to Note:

If you want to add a garnish to your drink, try candying the citrus peel. Before you squeeze, use a vegetable peeler to cut thin strips from the peel. Take these strips, place them in a pot and cover them with water. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Drain and repeat this boiling procedure two more times. You are doing this to soften the peel while retaining the color. Next, place the strips into the pot and add 1 cup sugar and two cups water. Bring this mixture to a boil and reduce for about 30 minutes.

There will be some liquid left in the pan, but not much. Cool to room temperature. Transfer the strips from the pot to a wire rack placed over a piece of parchment paper. Let the strips dry overnight, the longer the better!

At this point, you can douse the strips in sugar again if you like and eat them like candy. But I use them as they are to garnish the drink. Sooooo good!!

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