Simple syrup consists simply of sugar disolved in water, in a ratio by volume of between 1:1 and 2:1. There's no right or wrong ratio to use, I have a sweet tooth so 2:1 is my preference. It is possible to dissolve more sugar this than this, but doing so requires an emulsifier (when gum arabic the result is called gomme). You can use white or brown sugar, the latter making the resultant liquid a pleasant golden colour.
Ingredients to make 1 litre:
- 1 Pint Water
- 900g Sugar
It's possible to inject flavours into the syrup whilst heating, that will then come through in the drink (cocktails, coffee etc) you make. Commercial vendors choose names for their flavours that grossly over exagerate the contents, such as tiramisu for coffee, marshmallow for vanilla etc. When you're sold a Gingerbread Latte all you're getting is is a standard latte with cinamon and ginger syrup. Examples of those that you can make yourself include:
- Tea: add tea bags (earl grey is a common choice) then remove when infused
- Coffee: Replace water with good quality brewed coffee.
- Chocolate: Melt the chocolate in water as it heats. See my white chocolate syrup post for more info.
- Herbs: Mint is the obvious choice. Muddle in the pan with a bit of water, then add the rest and sugar. Strain before bottling.
- Spice: Add whole/cracked spices (cloves, nutmeg, cinamon etc) to the water then strain before bottling.
- Fruit: Substitute juice for water or use peel.
- Colourings: Easily add blue, red, green colour to cocktails. Syrup will sink in most liquids, allowing you to create naff 'sunrise' effects.