HOLIDAY COCKTAILS: How to Make Simple Syrup

by Gidget + LaRue

The holiday season has arrived in force and that means two things dear to our hearts—entertaining and giving.  Luckily we know how to make one easy concoction to help you with both.

Simple syrup is an essential addition to your home bar and the best way to add the pure sweetness of sugar to any cocktail recipe. Have you ever tried to add a spoonful of sugar or drizzle honey directly into a cocktail shaker? Not so easy. Following the recipe below is easy and a great way to sweeten up your holiday parties and gifts.

Let’s start with the basics. Simple syrup in its purest form is nothing more than granulated sugar dissolved in water. In fact, to create this all you need is an equal ratio of sugar to water or 1:1. Follow the 3 steps and ingredients below to get started.

Granulated sugar and water
Optional: cinnamon sticks, vanilla bean, honey


Step 1: In a high-sided saucepan over medium-high heat, combine 1 C. cold water with 1 C. regular granulated sugar.


Step 2: Bring water and sugar to a boil. Turn the heat to low and stir constantly until the sugar dissolves completely and the mixture is clear, approximately 3 to 5 minutes.


Step 3: Let your simple syrup cool to room temperature. Pour into a container, cover and refrigerate. Your tasty syrup batch should keep in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 weeks.


Now that you’re familiar with the basic recipe, here’s how to add some flavor alterations.

  1. Vanilla Bean Syrup. Simply add half a whole vanilla bean, sliced along its length, to the basic recipe, putting the bean into the water as you begin to heat it. Remove the bean when the finished syrup cools, or for a more intense vanilla flavor, leave the bean in the bottled syrup for up to a week. Bottled and stored in your fridge, the syrup will last 3 to 4 weeks.
  2. Cinnamon Syrup: Add a splash of sweet heat to your simple syrup by adding two cinnamon sticks to the water as you begin heating it. Remove the cinnamon sticks when cool, then bottle and store the syrup in your fridge for up to a month
  3. Honey Syrup: Prepare the syrup just as you would with sugar, but substitute an equal amount of honey for the granulated sugar.

Try this great cocktail recipe at your next holiday party:



Tools: Cocktail shaker and strainer
Glass: Coupe or Martini
Extras: Thinly sliced fresh pears for garnish

Servings: 2 cocktails

4 oz. Pear flavored vodka (Grey Goose LaPoire or Absolut PEARS are both great)
2 oz. Honey Syrup
2 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice

How to Make It:
Fill cocktail shaker with ice. Add all liquid ingredients. Shake it like you mean it! Strain into coupe or martini glasses. Garnish with pear fan.

If you’re still wondering what to give some people on your holiday list, simple syrup makes a wonderful gift for your cocktail-loving friends. Keep several small glass bottles on hand (we found ours for under $5.00 each at The Container Store), add store-bought paper hangtags labeling each syrup and you’ve got a beautiful and simple homemade gift.


About Gidget + LaRue: Making cocktails that are easy and stress-free is what drives us. We’re both busy working moms, so while the idea of whipping up some out of this world, groundbreaking cocktail makes us completely giddy, let’s be real—we only have so much time in a day. We’ve made it our mission to prove that elegant entertaining can be simple.