How to Make Herb-Infused Simple Syrups for Cocktails

Taking inspiration from the home garden, here’s how to make herb-infused simple syrups for cocktails.

How to Make Herb-Infused Simple Syrups

Syrups are an integral part of cocktails and making your own flavoured syrup could not be any easier. Just like the heat method of making simple syrup, bring equal parts of water and white sugar to the boil until the sugar is dissolved and infuse with your choice of herbs. Minor variations exist between different herbs so we’ve put together 7 recipes for making herb-infused simple syrups using common herbs found in the garden.

What you need:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • your choice of herbs
  • small pan
  • strainer
  • funnel
  • swing top glass bottles
  • 20 ml vodka (optional)

Syrups keep in the fridge for 10 days to 2 weeks and will keep up to one month if you add a splash of neutral spirit such as vodka.

7 DIY Herb-Infused Simple Syrups:

Thyme Simple Syrup Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 8 sprigs of fresh thyme

Method

In a small pan, bring the sugar and water to a simmer, stirring until all the sugar dissolved. Remove from heat, add thyme sprigs, cover and steep until the syrup is cool. Strain into a swing top glass bottle and store in the fridge.

Use in cocktails such as Thyme Gimlet, Old Fashioned and Bourbon and Gin based drinks

Lavender Simple Syrup Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh lavender flowers

Method

In a small pan, combine the sugar, water and lavender flowers and slowly bring to a boil, stirring all the time until the sugar dissolves. Simmer for 1 minute then remove from heat, cover and leave the syrup to steep until cold, for about 30 minutes. Once it’s cool, strain the lavender syrup into a swing top glass bottle and store in the fridge.

Use in cocktails such as Lavender Collins, Lavender French 75, Lavender Gin Fizz and with citrus-based drinks

Mint Simple Syrup Recipe

Unlike the previous herb-flavoured spirits, making mint syrup involves a little preparation. Most flavoured syrups require steeping the herbs in hot simple syrup but when it comes to mint, it has the effect of turning the leaves into an unattractive brown colour. To maintain the mint’s bright green hue, you can use the Jeffrey Morgenthaler method which he details in his book, The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique.

His technique involves blanching the mint to retain the brightness of colour. Hold the stem ends of the mint sprigs, blanch in boiling water for 15 seconds, remove and submerge them in an ice bath for one minute. Pat dry the mint, pick the leaves then blend in a high speed blender with simple syrup for 1 minute. Strain through a fine mesh strainer and store in a lidded glass bottle.

An alternative method is to blanch the mint sprigs then add the picked mint to simple syrup and leave to infuse as detailed below.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 sprigs of fresh mint

Method

Hold the stem ends of the mint sprigs, blanch in boiling water for 15 seconds, remove and submerge in an ice bath for one minute then pick the leaves.

In a small pan, bring the water and sugar to a simmer stirring until all the sugar is dissolve. Remove from heat and add the mint leaves ensuring they’re submerged. Cover and leave to cool completely. Strain the mint syrup into a swing top glass bottle and store in the fridge.

Use in cocktails such as the Mojito and Julep

Fennel Simple Syrup Recipe

In this recipe, we’ve used fennel fronds which impart a delicate herbal and vegetal flavour and aroma along with a green tinge to the syrup. You can also use fennel bulbs or crushed fennel seeds.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 bunch of fennel fronds

Method

In a small pan, combine the sugar and water and slowly bring to a boil, stirring all the time until sugar dissolves. Simmer for one minute then remove from heat. Add the fennel fronds and leave to steep until cool. Once it has cooled down completely, remove the fennel fronds, strain the fennel syrup into a swing top glass bottle and store in the fridge.

Use in cocktails such as vodka-based spritzers, cocktails with tomato water, drinks with citrus flavours such as blood orange and grapefruit

Rosemary Simple Syrup Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup of fresh rosemary leaves, chopped

Method

In a small pan, heat the sugar, water and chopped rosemary until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to a simmer then remove from the heat, cover and leave to cool down. Strain the rosemary syrup into a swing top glass bottle and store in the fridge.

Use in cocktails such as Rosemary Gimlet, Old Fashioned

Sage Simple Syrup Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 12 sage leaves

Method

In a small pan, combine the sugar and water and slowly bring to a boil, stirring all the time until the sugar dissolves. Simmer for 1 minute then remove from heat. Add the sage leaves and leave to steep for a minimum of 30 minutes. Strain the sage syrup using a fine strainer and store in a swing top glass bottle in the fridge.

Use in cocktails such as Sage Gimlet, Sage Gin Sour and in savoury cocktails

Basil Simple Syrup Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • leaves from 5 basil sprigs

Method

In a small pan, combine the sugar and water and slowly bring to a boil, stirring all the time until the sugar dissolves. Simmer for one minute then remove from heat. Add the picked basil leaves and leave to steep for at least 15 minutes. Strain the basil syrup using a fine strainer and store in swing top glass bottle with a lid in the fridge.

Use in cocktails such as Basil Gin Gimlet and Gin Basil Smash

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How to Make Herb-Infused Simple Syrups for Cocktails was last modified: November 28th, 2017 by Corinne Mossati
Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is the Founder/Editor of Cocktails & Bars and popular online magazine Gourmantic. She is named in the Australian Bartender Magazine Top 100 Most Influential List since 2013, is a member of The World’s 50 Best Bars Academy who judges the World’s 50 Best Bars. She has also judged the Australasian Whisky Awards and various national cocktail competitions. Read the full bio here.