It is incredible how much a good cocktail syrup can transform a drink. Adding a splash of grenadine syrup to a mocktail or a tablespoon of Starbucks peppermint syrup to your coffee will completely change the flavor of the drink. Syrups are certainly a powerful ingredient.
We wanted to take a good, long look at drink syrups and how amazing they really are. This ultimate syrup guide will talk about how to make syrups, give you some delicious recipes to make homemade syrup and also tell you which drink syrup brands are really the best. We will look at everything from Torani coffee syrup to the sugar free syrup Starbucks uses for the low carb drinks.
Hopefully this guide will answer all the questions you have about drink syrups. We also hope you give homemade syrups a try. You can use homemade syrup in so many of our mocktail recipes to make fantastic non alcoholic drinks.
So go mix yourself a tasty mocktail, get cozy on the couch and let’s dive into the world of cocktail and coffee syrups. We guarantee you will learn something and we also guarantee that you will need a tasty drink after reading our ultimate syrup guide.
Before flavored syrups were invented, there were syrups made with very basic ingredients. Sugar, honey, and other simple sweeteners were used to make drinks sweet. We are going to look at these basic syrups first.
Just because they are basic does not mean they do not have great flavor. Simple syrup is one of the most popular cocktail syrups out there and who could say no to a honey syrup? It is a good idea to learn about cocktail syrup in its most basic form before getting crazy with the flavors!
Simple syrup may be one of the most used syrups in cocktails and coffee. It is the original drink syrup that is still very popular. You will find hundreds of cocktail and mocktail recipes that ask you to add simple syrup. But what exactly is simple syrup? We can tell you all about it!
Simple syrup is a basic mix of sugar and water. The ratio for simple syrup is typically:
- 1 part sugar
- 1 part water
This means if you are using one cup of water, you should mix in one cup of sugar. You can make a super small amount of simple syrup or a big batch as long as you use equal parts of sugar and water.
Simple syrup is a common ingredient in cocktails to add a basic sweetness to a drink. Instead of using just sugar, many recipes will ask for simple syrup since it blends into a drink better. The liquid sweetener mixes right into almost any drink!
The thick consistency of simple syrup is also important to note. You want to be sure your syrup is at least one part sugar and one part water to make a thick syrup. Having a syrup that is too watery will make your drinks taste watered down. A sweet, thick syrup is what you want!
Simple syrup is definitely an ingredient that all bartenders and mocktail mixologists should have on hand. Luckily, it is super easy to make! We would even call it “simple”!
Anyone can make simple syrup. It is one of the easiest recipes in the world! Here is how to make simple syrup:
- Add the water for the syrup to a small saucepan.
- Add the sugar to the water and stir once or twice to mix the sugar into the water.
- Turn the heat on the stove to medium high and bring the mix to a boil.
- Once the sugar water boils, turn off the heat.
- Let the syrup cool and then use it in any cocktail, mocktail or drink recipe.
Making simple syrup is as easy as boiling water. Homemade simple syrup will keep in the fridge for up to a month. You can make a big batch and have it ready to use for all your mocktail recipes!
Simple syrup is used in so many mocktail recipes but what if you need a low carb or no carb options. Many of us want a sweet drink but also want to stick to a lower carb diet. Luckily, there are lots of low carb sweeteners on the market that can be used to make fantastic cocktail syrups.
Making a low carb cocktail syrup is the same as making a basic simple syrup.
- Add the water to the pan.
- Add your favorite low carb sweetener
- Bring the mix to a boil and then cool.
Some low carb or low calorie sweeteners work better than others to make homemade simple syrup. Powdered allulose, erythritol, and Splenda all make a great low calorie simple syrup. Look for sweeteners that say they can be used like real sugar. Sweeteners that have a one to one baking ratio can be used in any simple syrup recipe- just replace the sugar with your favorite sweetener!
Brown sugar simple syrup can be made in the exact same way as regular simple syrup. Simply mix equal parts of water and brown sugar and bring the mix to a boil. We like to let brown sugar simple syrup boil for one minute to help reduce the amount of water in the syrup. Brown sugar is more moist than regular sugar so letting a little of that excess moisture evaporate is a good idea.
Brown sugar simple syrup adds a deep, rich sweetness to drinks. It is a great simple syrup to use in coffee and also in mocktails. The fact that brown sugar simple syrup is so easy to make is just icing on the cake!
You can easily make a delicious simple syrup using agave or honey. Both of these sweeteners are already fairly thick and have a syrup-like consistency. However, they can actually be too thick to mix into a cold drink.
Honey is a sweet, sticky substance made by bees. Agave is a sweet syrup that is extracted from the heart of the agave succulent plant. You can make cocktail syrup from both of these thick, sweet ingredients in the same way. Here is how to make honey syrup and agave syrup for mixed drinks.
- Whisk together 2 parts honey or agave with 1 part warm water.
- Store in the fridge for up to a month.
The water in the cocktail syrup recipe will help thin the honey and agave. This will allow it to mix more easily into drinks.
Using warm water will help loosen the honey and agave, making it blend into the water more easily. Use a whisk to really mix the two ingredients together. The honey or agave should melt right into the water and make one sweet syrup!
Once you have mastered the simple syrup, it is time to get a little more creative. You can make hundreds of different flavored coffee syrups and cocktail syrups in your own kitchen. You also do not need to be a professional chef or a mixologist to become a syrup master. You will be surprised how simple it is to make amazing, homemade cocktail syrups.
A flavored syrup will not change the texture of your drink, but only add straight flavor. This can be ideal especially when you are looking to incorporate a unique flavor but are unsure how to get that flavor into your mocktail easily.
For example, you may want to make a lavender flavored drink. Dried lavender has a crunchy, dry texture that may cause your drink to have a weird texture. However, you can add a lot of lavender flavor by making an infused lavender simple syrup. You will get all the flavor you want without the grittiness of whole lavender.
Using a flavored cocktail syrup is a very easy way to add a powerful, sweet taste to your drinks. We are going to look at a few different ways to make flavored cocktail syrups at home. Here is what we will go over:
- Fruit Flavored Syrups- Making syrups infused or blended with fruit will brighten up any non alcoholic drink recipe.
- Herb Flavored Syrups- Infusing herbs into simple syrup adds a powerful, bold flavor.
- Syrups made with Extracts- Adding simple extract is often the easiest way to flavor a coffee syrup
- Floral Cocktail Syrups- Fresh or dried flowers can be transformed into wonderful, floral tasting cocktail syrups
- Tea and Coffee flavored syrups- Make a tea or coffee flavored syrup will give your drinks a strong, sweet boost of flavor.
- Using Juice for Simple Syrup- Replace the water in your simple syrup recipe with your favorite juice to easily add flavor.
All of these different kinds of syrups are fantastic in their own right. Each one will work well for a different type of drink. While a coffee flavored syrup may be amazing in a mocktail, it might not work well if added to a hot cup of coffee. Coffee on top of coffee just sounds like too much!
Think about the flavors you love and also consider how you intend to use your homemade coffee syrup. Will you be mixing up non alcoholic drinks, stirring some flavored syrups into a glass of iced tea or adding some homemade syrup to your morning coffee. Each use may require its own flavored syrups. Good thing they are super fun and easy fun to make!
There are two main ways to make fruit flavored simple syrups. You can make the syrup with fresh fruits, retaining the bright, tart flavors of the fruit. Or, you can choose to make simple syrup by cooking the fruit and sweetener into a syrup. Both hot and cold methods work well so it is totally a matter of preference.
One thing to note about making fruit flavored syrups is that melons typically do not work well in a syrup. Melons are very watery and will make the syrup quite watery as well. This can then dilute your drinks. Skip making fruit simple syrup using watermelon, honeydew or cantaloupe.
Berries, on the other hand, make amazing cocktails syrup. Apples, peaches and pears are wonderful for homemade syrup recipes as well. The possibilities are endless!
To make fresh pressed fruit flavored simple syrup, you need to start with equal amounts of sugar and water. Does this sound familiar? If you answered yes, that is because equal parts of sugar and water is a basic simple syrup!
Whisk the sugar and water together until the sugar has dissolved. A few minutes of whisking should do the trick!
Next, measure one equal part of the fruit and place it in a bowl, cocktail shaker, mason jar or even into a mug. An equal part of fruit simply means the same quantity of water and sugar you used. If you started the simple syrup with one cup of water and one cup of sugar, you will want one cup of fruit as well.
Use a muddler to mash the fruit as much as possible. No matter what type of fruit you use, it is likely to get quite juicy as you smash the fruit. That is good! Juice means flavor!
If you are using a fruit with a lot of seeds, you will want to push the mashed fruit though a fine mesh sieve to remove any seeds. Discard the seeds and then add the juice and thick pulp to the whisked sugar water. Stir everything together and you will have a perfect, homemade fruity syrup!
Cooking the fruit rather than using it fresh can be a huge bonus to a cocktail syrup recipe. Cooking fruit will help reduce the liquid in a fruit and make the flavor of the syrup more powerful and less watery. Heating fruit for simple syrup is also very useful for fruits that are not juicy and wouldn’t do well being muddled.
Fruit like apples and pears will soften as they cook and release any juice they may have. You can easily mash harder fruits after they have cooked, pressing them into a pulp.
Take a look at how to make fruit flavored simple syrup using the cooking method.
- Add one part sugar and one part water to a small saucepan.
- Add 1-2 parts fruit to the pan as well. If you are using a larger fruit, like an apple, make sure to chop it into smaller pieces so it cooks and softens faster. Use more fruit when the fruits have a more mild taste.
- Bring the syrup to a low boil and let the mix simmer until it starts to thicken and the fruit is breaking down. Berries will break down much faster than harder fruits like mango. Keep an eye on the syrup and give it a stir every now and then to see how the fruit is holding up.
- Once the syrup is thick, remove the pan from the heat and strain the syrup.
- Store the thick, fruit syrup in the fridge for about a week. Use it for your favorite mocktails and drinks!
Whether you choose to make fruit simple syrup using the cold method or the hot method, you will have a fantastic, bright and bold syrup perfect for coffee and mocktails.
Herbs and spices add amazing, potent flavors to cocktail syrups. Making herb syrup is probably the best way to get the flavors of herbs into a drink. We like to infuse herbs into cocktail syrups, getting all the taste of the herb into the syrup without having to blend, crush or process the herb. The end result is a thick, smooth coffee syrup with a strong flavor.
There are two main ways to infuse herbs into simple syrup. You can quickly heat the herb and syrup or you can use the long steep method. The method of making herb infused syrup that you choose depends on the herbs that you are using.
Herbs that are more delicate should be made into cocktail syrup using the long steep method. The syrup flavor can develop over time and the herb will not turn bitter or sour with heat. Stronger herbs can be cooked into syrup quickly.
When choosing a syrup making method, think about if the herb is used in cooking. If it is typically cooked into hot dishes, it is perfect for the hot syrup method. If it is an herb that is added to a recipe at the end and not usually cooked, it is best to go with the cold method.
Letting herbs steep for a longer period of time will help give your cocktail syrup a powerful flavor. This method is great for delicate herbs like mint, basil, and fresh thyme.
Steeping the syrup is a lot like making tea. The sugar and water for the simple syrup are mixed, heated and then removed from the stovetop. The herbs are added to the warm syrup and left to sit and steep. The flavor of the herbs will slowly go into the syrup and make a perfectly flavored herbal cocktail syrup.
We like to let the herbs steep for about an hour before straining and discarding the soaked herb. Here is a quick look at some of the most popular herbal cocktail syrups and how to make them. Start each recipe with one cup of sugar and one cup of water. Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan, remove the pan from the stove and then add these herbs.
- Mint Cocktail Syrup- Steep 1 cup of fresh mint leaves for one hour
- Homemade Basil Syrup- Steep 1 cups of fresh basil for one hour
- Fresh Thyme Simple Syrup- Add 8 sprigs of fresh thyme and steep for at least an hour.
- Lavender Simple Syrup- ¼ cup of dried lavender should steep for at least an hour or longer.
Adding the herbs to the water and sugar as it heats is a much faster way to make herbal simple syrup. Of course, not all herbs can hold up to the heat. Heartier herbs like sage and rosemary are perfect for the quick simple syrup method.
To make quick herbal simple syrup, add one cup of water, one cup of sugar and your herbs to a small saucepan. Bring the mix to a simmer and let it cook for about 10 minutes. Once cooked, strain and discard the herbs and enjoy the delicious flavored simple syrup. Pretty easy, right?
Here are a few herbs that work well for this quick, hot syrup method:
- Rosemary Simple Syrup- Add 5 sprigs of fresh rosemary to the pot to cook.
- Sage Simple Syrup- 10 fresh sage leaves can be added to the simple syrup and simmered.
- Lemongrass Cocktail Syrup- Add about ½ cup chopped fresh lemongrass to the pot.
Homemade herbal simple syrups are so simple to make and can seriously transform your drink. Use mint simple syrup to add more flavor to your peach bellini. Make a cucumber gimlet mocktail using basil simple syrup. A fizzy cherry drink would be pretty incredible with lavender simple syrup. The possibilities are endless and herbal simple syrup makes it so easy to be a true mixologist.
One of the easiest ways to flavor simple syrup is to simply add extract or oils to the mix. There are hundreds of types of extracts on the market, ranging in flavor from simple vanilla to cookie dough extract.
Extracts are very powerful and can be too strong to add directly into a drink. Extracts are occasionally made with small amounts of alcohol. While the alcohol quantity in an extract may be insignificant, you may want to consider this if you are looking to abstain from alcohol completely. However, you can find a lot of great, non alcoholic extracts as well. Choose the type of extract that is best for you- they all work about the same!
Once you have made your simple syrup, boiling equal parts of sugar and water, add 1 teaspoon of extract per cup of sugar. If you are using a stronger extract like peppermint or lavender, use about ½ teaspoon.
Adding an extract to simple syrup is a very easy way to make vanilla simple syrup, almond simple syrup and even cookie dough simple syrup. This is such a fun way to flavor all of your mocktail and coffee creations!
Flowers are surprisingly flavorful. They can add depth and interest to almost any cocktail. Adding a floral simple syrup to your drink will definitely have people wondering what you put inside the glass!
Adding the taste of flowers to a drink is not as easy as blending a flower into a cup. Flowers are very delicate and need to be handled with care. The best way to make a floral simple syrup is to infuse the syrup with the flavor of the flower. Here is how you can do just that:
- Bring 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water to a boil then remove the pan from the heat.
- Add your fresh flower to the syrup, stir once then cover the pot and let the flowers sit for one hour.
- Strain the syrup and discard the flowers.
- Store the floral simple syrup in the fridge for about two weeks.
There are many types of flowers that you can use to make simple syrup. Be sure to choose flowers that have been organically grown, have no chemical sprays and are edible. Here are a few of our favorite flowers to make into simple syrup:
- Bee balm
Each flower has a very unique flavor and will help elevate your mocktails and drink recipes!
Coffee beans and flavored teas can also be made into simple syrups for drink recipes. A coffee syrup will be delicious in a martini mocktail while a tea infused syrup would taste yummy mixed into homemade lemonade.
Making coffee and tea infused syrup is very easy. You simply need to boil your simple syrup, add your whole coffee beans or tea bag and let the mix sit. The longer the coffee and tea steep, the stronger your syrup will taste.
We recommend steeping coffee beans for about an hour in hot simple syrup. Tea will typically only take about 10 minutes to steep. You will have delicious homemade simple syrups in no time!
Most simple syrup recipes use water and sugar to make a perfect, thick syrup mixture. However, you can replace the water with your favorite fruit juice. This will easily give you a whole new kind of simple syrup.
Most juices will work well in simple syrup recipes. You may need to boil the syrup a little longer to help it thicken. Stirring the simple syrup as it boils is also important. Juice can quickly burn so stirring and cooking the syrup over low heat is important. Here are a few juices you can try in your simple syrup recipe:
- Orange juice
- Pomegranate juice
- Grapefruit juice
- Fruit Punch
- Grape juice
- Apple juice
One of the most popular cocktail syrups ever is grenadine. Grenadine is a bright red syrup made with pomegranate juice. It is often used to add flavor and color to drinks.
Making grenadine syrup is very easy. You can simply replace the water in your simple syrup recipe with pomegranate juice! Here is our recipe for homemade grenadine.
- Add the pomegranate juice and sugar to a small pot.
- Bring the mix to a boil over medium high heat, stirring occasionally.
- Boil the syrup for 2 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the orange flower water.
- Let the grenadine cool and then store in an airtight container in the fridge.
You will see grenadine in a lot of mocktail and cocktail recipes. Using homemade grenadine will really make your drinks taste amazing. And it is so easy to make grenadine!
As you can see, it is very easy to make flavored simple syrups at home. You can get creative, mixing herbs and spices, flowers and fruits. A homemade flavored syrup is our favorite way to add powerful flavors and sweetness to drinks and mocktails.
You will also have fun making simple syrup at home! Playing in the kitchen is always a good time!
We love making our own syrups to use in drinks. However, there are so many amazing coffee syrups and cocktail syrups available in stores, too. If you want to easily add flavor to your mocktails, coffees and drinks, it is very simple to just grab a bottle of syrup and pour.
Since there are so many brands of cocktail syrups out there, we wanted to review each brand. We will give you the pros and cons of each kind of cocktail syrup. We will also take a look at the syrup flavors each brand offers. You may be surprised at how many options of coffee syrups there are!
As we already mentioned, there are lots of different brands of coffee syrups on the market. We are going to focus on the five major brands.
- Torani Syrup
- Monin Syrup
- DaVinci Syrups
- Ghirardelli Syrup
- Starbucks Syrup
You have probably seen these brands in stores or shopped for them online. Many of them are known for more than just coffee syrup. Of course, Starbucks and Ghirardelli both sell more than just coffee syrup!
Let’s take a look at each coffee syrup brand and see which one is the best. It may be a very hard choice!
Torani coffee syrup may be the most well known brand of coffee syrup. Torani is used in coffee shops and bars around the world. Torani started making syrups in 1925. The Italian company started with just 5 flavors of coffee syrup and quickly expanded. There are now over 150 different flavors of Torani syrup.
There are lots of super sweet types of Torani syrup. There are also lots of sugar free options which are just as sweet but without the calories and carbs. This makes Torani coffee syrup perfect for everyone.
Here is a quick look at the pros and cons of Torani Syrup
- Lots of flavor choices
- Sugar free options
- Strong Flavor
- Shatterproof plastic bottle
- Easy to find in grocery stores and online
- Can be expensive
- Syrup pumps are sold separately
Monin is another very popular brand of coffee syrup. It rivals Torani for the most popular syrup brand in the world. Monin syrups were first created in 1912 and started being exported from Italy in 1930. Monin has about 100 different products including lots of coffee syrup flavors, sauces, and concentrated flavors.
Most Monin syrups come in tall glass bottles which look beautiful on the counter. They have a great, natural taste that will make any cocktail, mocktail or coffee taste incredible. Here are the pros and cons of Monin syrup.
- Over 100 products to choose from
- Pump is often included with the bottle of syrup
- Coffee syrups are vegan
- Quite pricey
- Not as strong as Torani syrups
DaVinci syrups may be newer than Torani syrup and Monin coffee syrups but the bran is just as popular. DaVinci prides itself on using natural botanicals and extracts to flavor the coffee syrup. They skip artificial preservatives and give you a pure, natural syrup that is quite delicious. We love this natural coffee syrup option!
There are around 50 different flavors of DaVinci syrup on the market. They are not as expensive as Torani or Monin which is surprising for a natural, delicious product. This is a drink syrup you definitely need to try!
- No artificial flavors or preservatives
- Priced right
- Very flavorful
- Not overly sweet
- Not as many flavor options
- Not usually sold in local stores (must be ordered)
Ghirardelli has long been known for their amazing chocolates. The chocolate company has been making delicious treats since 1852. They didn’t get into the coffee and drink syrup markey for many years after that.
Ghirardelli coffee syrups are more like sauces than liquid syrup. They are very thick and powerful. Rather than a chocolate flavored sugar syrup, ghirardelli sauce is more like a chocolate ice cream sundae sauce.
There are not that many types of Ghirardelli drink sauces but the ones that are available are very flavorful. All those years of chocolate making has enabled Ghirardelli to make a fantastic sugary drink mix!
- Very flavorful
- Not expensive
- A little bit goes a long way
- Very sweet
- Only 5 flavors
- Doesn’t mix into drinks as easily as a liquid sugar syrup
- Must be used three weeks after opening
If you are a big Starbucks fan, then you will love Starbucks coffee syrups. Using Starbucks brand coffee syrups is the easiest way to make drinks at home that taste just like Starbucks.
If you are crazy for Starbucks vanilla lattes or hazelnut coffees, then you should definitely grab Starbucks syrups. You can buy Starbucks coffee syrups in most Starbucks stores or order them online.
Starbucks syrups can be used in any cocktail or mocktail recipes, too. They are essentially just a flavored simple syrup!
- Identical to the flavors in Starbucks stores
- Not made with corn syrup
- Vegan syrup
- Will keep at room temperature for months
- Not many flavor options
- Smaller bottles than other syrup brands
After taking a look at all the different types of coffee and cocktail syrups on the market, we must say that the Torani Syrups are our favorites. There are so many incredible Torani flavors to choose from and each one has a strong, distinctive taste.
Torani is actually used in a lot of Starbucks stores when Starbucks needs a flavor they don’t make. Torani has been around for over 100 years so they really have mastered perfecting the cocktail syrup. We just recommend buying the syrup pump to ensure your syrup bottle doesn't get too sticky or messy! You can use the syrup pumps again and again.
Torani syrups will give you endless flavor possibilities, enabling you to make fantastic cocktails, mocktails and coffee drinks. However, definitely give all the top coffee syrup brands a tray. You may love Monin vanilla coffee syrup the most or you could be a big fan of Ghirardelli caramel sauce in your drinks. You will only know if you try them all!
Whether you are looking to add a little flavor to your morning coffee or searching for the perfect blue curacao to make a mocktail, coffee and cocktail syrups are your answer. We hope this ultimate guide helped you learn about mixing your own simple syrup, making natural flavored syrup and which brands of syrups are the best.
Flavored syrups are such an easy way to make your drinks sweet and flavorful. Let us know your favorite syrups and how you use them. We are always looking for more ideas and recipes to help enhance our favorite drinks! Enjoy and happy mixing!