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Homemade Rich Simple Syrup | St. Clements Cocktail

Homemade Rich Simple Syrup | St. Clements Cocktail

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It has been a crazy week, and we ready to enjoy a cocktail with you.  First, it is time to get back to talking about Bar Basics.  Two weeks ago we shared our homemade Sour Mix, and this week we are going to talk about simple syrup.  This is a bar basic that is a must, as most cocktail recipes include a little sweetener, which is normally some simple syrup.  We like to take it a step further by using a  “rich simple syrup”.



Rich simple syrup adds a subtle sweetness and texture to your cocktail.  It is made by using a 2:1 ratio (sugar: water).  We prefer to use an unrefined sugar, which also adds a nice amber color to the finished syrup.  As well we have found that using the ratio of 2:1, made the syrup last longer.  We do add a teaspoon of vodka to aid in some “natural preserving”.  Vodka is perfect to use as it has a clean taste, and will not interfere with the taste of your cocktails.  Just don’t add to your breakfast tea or you really will be tea tottling.  If you opt not to use the vodka as a preservative, your syrup will last about 2 weeks in the refrigerator.  Using the vodka made the syrup last about 2 months;  well, that is how long it lasted in our fridge.

About a month ago, a bottle of Hendricks Gin, along with a cocktail book dedicated to gin only cocktails, showed up on our doorstep.  Breaking it open seemed appropriate as most cocktails involving gin also involve a little simple syrup.  Keep in mind, a cocktail has three basic components:  sweet, acidic, and alcohol.  Sweet being the simple syrup.  This lovely spring cocktail is made with Hendricks, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, and lemon bitters.  We loved how the juniper overtones from the gin played with the tangy lemon.  Very refreshing.  Very addictive.  Hello Spring!

Homemade Rich Simple Syrup


2 cups unrefined sugar

1 cup water

1 teaspoon vodka

How To:

In a saucepan add the sugar and water.

Stirring over low heat until the sugar dissolves; about 3 minutes.

Remove from heat.

Let cool.

Add vodka, and stir.

Bottle and put into the refrigerator until ready to use.


St. Clements Cocktail


1 3/4 ounces Hendrick’s Gin

1 ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice

3/4 ounces rich simple syrup

Fever Tree Bitter Lemon


lemon slices

How To:

In a shaker add a handful of ice, the gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup.


Strain into a glass.

Top with the bitter lemon.

Garnish with a lemon slice.



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Friday 18th of May 2012

This sounds perfect for summer. Where on earth did you get that lovely cocktail glass?

Denise Woodward

Sunday 20th of May 2012

Sarah, the perfect summer cocktail. We enjoyed some on Friday in fact. Found the glass at Pier One Imports.


Friday 20th of April 2012

When you say the syrup made with vodka lasted longer, do you mean it took longer before the sugar recrystallized? I'll have to try that. Another trick for that is just to cook your syrup longer, say a half hour or so. The heat will help to "invert" the sugar, i.e. break down some of the sucrose into glucose and fructose - the mixture of sugar molecules don't crystallize as easily as a homogenous sucrose solution. There's also no real need to refrigerate it, and the low temperature will promote recrystallization.

Magic of Spice

Sunday 15th of April 2012

What a delightful cocktail! I have not used vodka to preserve my simple syrups before, but it sounds like a great way to go :)

Brian @ A Thought For Food

Sunday 15th of April 2012

What a fabulous recipe! This looks like the perfect cocktail for these unseasonably warm days we've been having here in Boston.