top of page
  • Writer's pictureJohn B. Reyna

Simple Syrup: Simple yet essential

Updated: May 29, 2020

This might seem like a simple subject, but it's so much more than that. Quality ingredients make quality cocktails. And simple syrup is no exception. It is often made incorrectly. So grab a beverage and let Teakwood Tavern walk you through how to make simple syrup as well as a few classic cocktails that include it as an ingredient.

Simple syrup is something that will show up over and over again. And there are plenty of recipes out there to follow. Our favorite comes from Dave Arnold's book, Liquid Intelligence.

Liquid Intelligence is a phenomenal collection of science and cocktails. It's 400+ pages of insanity, in all the best ways. Dave's simple syrup section is a prime example of that.

For example, who uses a scale to make simple syrup? Just add a cup of sugar to a cup of boiling water and stir until the sugar is dissolved, right? WRONG! Dave explains that using a scale to measure by weight is more accurate than measuring by volume because granulated sugar and water do not have the same density. Mind blown. Plus, if you boil water then some of the water will evaporate, which leaves a syrup with a higher concentration of sugar. Yeah, there is science to making simple syrup.

The clip below takes you through the preparation of simple syrup.

Teakwood Tavern's Simple Syrup Recipe to fill a 12 oz squeeze bottle

200 grams - water

200 grams - sugar

Use a scale to weigh. Place sugar and water in a large container. Use a hand-blender with the blade attachment to mix the ingredients. Once the sugar is dissolved, stop blending. Pour syrup into a 12 oz squeeze bottle. It will last one week in the refrigerator.

So what do you do with that fancy simple syrup? We're glad you asked! Here are two cocktails that show the versatility of simple syrup: the Daiquiri and the Sidecar.

The Daiquiri

2 oz white rum

0.75 oz lime juice

0.75 oz simple syrup

Shake with ice, then fine-strain into a chilled coupe.

When the word Daiquiri comes up, do you immediately think of a sweet, frozen concoction? That stops today.

The recipe for the Daiquiri goes back Cuba in 1896, when an American engineer, Jennings Cox, wrote it down in his personal diary. Seriously, his diary still exists. But let's be honest, to think that before his recipe Cubans hadn't already mixed sugar, lime, and rum together is bit much to swallow. Still, that's our first recorded recipe of it. A few decades later, the drink started appearing in cocktail books. And now it is considered a classic cocktail. For good reason to.

A Daiquiri only has three ingredients. Yet, it is smart, sophisticated, and incredibly nuanced. With only three ingredients, there's not much to hind behind. A bad ingredient or too much of any one piece, and the drink fails. That's why having good simple syrup makes a difference.

In the video above of John making the simple syrup, you will likely notice two cocktail books. He forgot to mention that classic cocktails, like the Daiquiri, often have slight variations. No biggie, try them out and see which variation you like best. The recipe we follow is above and we think it does the trick.

Here is a video of John making the Daiquiri:

Next up is . . .

The Sidecar

2 oz Cognac

0.75 Cointreau

0.75 lemon juice

0.25 oz simple syrup

Shake with ice, then fine-strain into a chilled coupe.

This cocktail first appeared in Robert Vermeire's, Cocktails: How to Mix them in 1922. It's a bit different in that book, and some places still follow that recipe, which included a sugar rim. We follow the guidance of those bartenders who nixed the sugar rim and instead added a bit of simple syrup. It brings the lemon juice and Cointreau into balance.

Lastly, we are big Cognac fans so this is a staple in our house. This is the first of many Cognac cocktails that we will be showcasing to our friends.

Here's a video of Shen making the Sidecar:

We hope you can see how important simple syrup is to your cocktail game. So give it the respect it deserves. You'll be happy you did!!!


The Reynas









89 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page