• Kathleen Burnard

Simple Syrup


Bear with me, Im about to say a lot of Things. I promise Ill get to the recipe. Simple syrup is a really fun way to liven up foods and drinks (like all those excellent looking cocktails Ive been seeing on instagram and facebook). Its extra important to inject some joy into our lives lately, and this is an easy way to do that. Added bonus- youll feel SO VERY FANCY stirring your homemade artisan small-batch simple syrup into whatever it is youre making. Bonus points for posting artfully arranged photos of the final product on the social media platform of your choosing. Eat your heart out, hipsters. But before we get to that:


Things are a little weird right now. A little scary. Theres a lot of stress baking happening. It feels weird to make requests of people reading my little blog (especially since so much of my audience is in marginalized categories and were having a hard time right now). If what Im about to say doesnt apply to you, then like...ignore it? Skip to the next section? I dont know. I dont know anything anymore (insert very dramatic gif of sad person looking out of a window into the rain here).


Please only buy the products you need right now, as people are having a hard time finding basics like eggs. With a few exceptions like some perishables or specialty items, Ive only been using things that already existed in the fridge or pantry. I also havent been to the store myself in a very long time. Actually, I havent been inside any building other than my own house for a very long time. If you are having trouble finding kitchen basics in stores (or if going to a grocery store just isnt in the cards for you right now) check out some other kinds of places. Since farmers markets cant really happen everywhere, some local farmers are struggling to get their products sold. Buying directly from them allows you to support local businesses and gets you high quality ingredients at the same time. Additionally, some bars or restaurants have been acting as a middle man for farmers and consumers, selling those basics since they cant be open themselves. Many of these such places have curbside pickup or even a slick little deal where you can call them and theyll come out to your car and put the product right into your trunk for you. Maximum safety.


Hang in there. Theres a lot of information floating around, and a lot of its wrong. Read articles all the way through before posting them. My personal rule is that if something COVID-19 related was published more than three days ago, I look for something more recent. What we know changes so rapidly. We dont even know what we dont know...you know?


Ive also seen a lot of conversations about how staying home is a privilege that a lot of people dont have, so we should be grateful that we get to stay home. While this is true in many cases and is absolutely a conversation that needs to be had, its also discouraging for a lot of disabled and chronically ill people to hear. Please keep that in mind when you have those conversations. For one thing, its literally life and death for a lot of us. Its not a privilege or a choice if one of the choices means you die a horrible death. This whole lifestyle of social distancing and isolation is how many of us have to live our lives on a regular basis. If we had a dollar for every time someone said oh my gosh, youre so lucky you dont have to work, we wouldnt need disability pay (speaking of which, if youre concerned about how to make a $1,200 check from the government last a long time and cover what you need it to cover, ask a disabled person; its their reality 24/7, not just during an international crisis). Weve been asking for these work-from-home accommodations for years, only to be told it would be too difficult, or even impossible. So we cant work, we get fired, or we just suffer through it and make ourselves sicker. But now it turns out it was possible all along, its just that no one wanted to put the work into implementing those possibilities until they affected normal, healthy people. We all knew this, but its a whole new feeling to see it played out.


Oh hey, its me.

If you see someone wearing an N95 mask out in public, going about their business, dont treat them badly or tell them theyre being selfish or inconsiderate. A lot of us have those masks from before the pandemic and will continue to need them after this is over. Keep in mind that a lot of chronically ill, disabled, or immunocompromised people look completely healthy.



Whats this blog about again? Right, baking. Got it. Moving on.


Since things are so weird right now, my posts might be a little weird too. Im stressed out. Ive been doing a ton of baking, but I hesitate to post recipes that involve tons of ingredients. So for now, lets go with this-



Simple syrup! Its good for all kinds of things! I already posted some in my Sparkling Apple Cider Cupcake recipe, in fact. You can use them in baked goods, cocktails, mocktails, non-alcohol-adjacent beverages, candies, whipped cream, the list goes on. And its really, well, simple to make.



The basic ratio is equal parts sugar and water. Thats it. You can adjust for volume or taste as needed. And then you can infuse it with any flavor you want. I honestly dont even measure the infused ingredients anymore, thats how easy it is. Just do whatever the hell you want.



All you do is combine equal parts water and sugar in a saucepan on the stove (1 cup of each is a pretty safe amount). Bring it up to a very light simmer while gently stirring, until the sugar has dissolved. Keep it clear; were not making caramel. At this point, you can add whatever flavors youd like to infuse. Let them simmer together for about two minutes, then remove from heat and allow those flavors to meld together in the pan for a couple of hours. Its a set it and forget it sort of thing.

Isnt that beautiful?

I gravitate toward flavor profiles that include something fruity or floral, and a savory herb. My favorite so far is lavender rosemary (which is excellent in lemonade).


The lavender turns the lemonade that color! Its the best.

I recently did strawberry and basil (as pictured at the very top of this post), which is also delightful.


Strawberry basil simple syrup turns whipped cream the lightest baby pink and packs it with concentrated strawberry flavor.

Sometime soon Id like to try cinnamon orange. Or lemon blueberry mint. Or cherry rose vanilla. (Okay, there are lots of combos I want to try.)



When youre ready, strain out the liquid and store it in the fridge until youre ready to use it! Theres a reason its called simple syrup.


Simple Syrup

; makes 1 cup, but can be increased or decreased as needed


  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1 cup water

  • herbs, spices, fruits, etc. for infusing


1. Combine sugar and water in a saucepan on the stove.

2. Slowly bring up to a light simmer, while stirring, until the sugar has visibly dissolved.

3. Add infusing ingredients and simmer for two minutes (if youre making more than 1 cup, increase the simmering time by 1-2 minutes per cup).

4. Remove from heat and leave ingredients in the pan (preferably covered, but that part isnt necessary) for several hours.

5. Strain. Use immediately or refrigerate until needed.

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©2019 by Kathleen Burnard