Our uncompromisingly handcrafted London Dry Gin is perfectly complemented by a range of flavourful gin syrups. Learn how to make your own—and use them in both gin cocktails and homemade flavoured gin – from our Co-Founder and Master Distiller, Jared Brown.
Gin syrups provide a delicious way to get creative with your home bartending, if it’s a hands-on project that you’re after, gin syrups are also incredibly easy to make at home. Make use of seasonal fruits, add spices and herbs for an additional twist, and use them to make ginny tipples as well as your very own flavoured gin. To fire up your imagination, our talented distillers have shared their preferred techniques for homemade gin syrups, plus their favourite seasonal ingredients.
Best of all, our handcrafted gin makes a balanced and versatile base for virtually any serve. For a simple option, add 25ml of your favourite flavoured syrup to our classic Gin & Tonic for a twist. See more mixing inspiration below.
One note about all homemade syrups: they contain no preservatives, so they need to be stored in the fridge and generally only keep for a week or two. You can crush one or two vitamin C tablets and dissolve them into the syrup as they contain citric acid which is a natural preservative. Or, you can combine your syrup with gin in equal parts (250ml gin to 250ml syrup, for example) which will also preserve the liquid. This is the simplest way to make a liqueur.
Tonic syrup is one syrup you might want to buy rather than making. Quinine crystals and cinchona bark must be added in moderation as they can be unhealthy in large amounts. Luckily, there are quite a few good tonic syrups on the market today. Although we no longer sell Sipsmith syrups, we do recommend Jack Rudy for a quality tonic syrup.
First things first: you’ll need to learn the basic syrup-making technique. True to name, simple syrup is beginner-friendly and easy to master. A simple syrup is a 1:1 sugar-to-water ratio, which is what most recipes call for, such as the French 75, the Tom Collins, the Bramble, and many more. Here’s the technique:
SIMPLE SUGAR SYRUP RECIPE
- 100g water
- 100ml caster sugar
- Fruits or flavourings of your choice (see Jared’s favourites below)
- Take a measuring cup and fill it to 100ml with caster sugar.
- Place this in a jam jar or mug.
- Measure 100ml water.
- Add this to the sugar.
- Stir, let it rest and then stir again.
- After 10-15 minutes the sugar should be completely dissolved. This is simple syrup (also known as sugar syrup).
- Bottle in a sterilised jar and keep in the fridge for 1-2 weeks (there are no natural preservatives in homemade syrup, see above for Jared’s tips on storing for longer).
- Optional: for a sweeter, less diluted syrup you can double your measure of sugar to that of water (e.g. 200ml sugar, 100ml water), and combine over heat until the sugar is dissolved. This is not necessary, though – any recipe calling for simple (or sugar) syrup is referring to the 1:1 ratio recipe. Note, for flavoured syrups you will need to heat the mixture to extract the flavours.
The next step is flavoured syrups. These are generally made with 1:1 sugar to water, in a covered saucepan over a low heat (the heat is needed to extract the flavours). The time it takes depends on the other ingredients. A tea syrup can take as little as a few minutes. There are countless options from classics to fruit infusions. All of these make great syrups.
Fruit syrups are just as easy to make, though they take longer than tea syrups. Pomegranate syrup, the real grenadine, is made by adding the seeds of a large pomegranate to 500ml water and an equal measure of sugar. Simmer covered on low heat for 20-30 minutes. Set it aside to cool. Strain and bottle.
Craft some deliciously fiery tipples with a measure of gingerbread syrup. Whilst we no longer sell this bottled, it is ever so easy to craft at home. Simply thinly slice a knob or two of ginger (dependent on the quantity made and the desired taste) and mix with around 200g of sugar (use a 2:1 sugar to water ratio to amend the quantity). Leave overnight in a container to form a paste, then add 100ml boiling water to dissolve the remaining sugar. Depending on the desired ginger strength, leave for a couple of hours up to a day to extract the ginger flavour. Then simply double strain using a strainer or small sieve before bottling and keeping in the fridge for up to two weeks. Mix up your syrup by adding a slice or two of fresh lemon at the first step, or a few chilli flakes for a more fiery syrup.
To craft a homemade tea syrup, perfect for our Gin Tea recipe on page 191 of SIP, simply follow the simple syrup recipe above, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Then bring the mixture up to a simmer and place a couple of tea bags in before setting it aside to cool. Lift out the tea bags after roughly 10 minutes and you have a simple yet delicious gin-flavoured syrup. Photo credit: @the_lazyfoodie
Raspberry syrup is a fruity and fragrant option for summer. Source a large punnet of the ripest and most aromatic berries you can find, and be sure to rinse before adding to the syrup. Make the syrup as above, and leave the raspberries to infuse until they’ve imparted all of their sweet-tart flavour. Use in a range of cocktails, or even mix with a bottle of London Dry Gin to make your own, bespoke flavoured gin.
Many might associate fresh herbs with savoury dishes, but they add a remarkable freshness and complexity to sweeter serves, too. Take this rosemary syrup as an example: prepare your syrup as above and throw in a small handful of rosemary sprigs—leave to infuse for at least 20 minutes before straining and bottling. Then, use it in a number of serves to evoke long summer evenings out in the garden.
STRAWBERRY AND BASIL
Fancy making your own, delightfully summery pink gin? Jared recommends strawberry and basil as the perfect gin syrup to have on hand throughout the warmer months. Use a generous quantity of fresh fruit, and add the basil leaves shortly before the syrup is done infusing: their volatile aromas and flavours will be less detectable if you add them earlier in the process.
High summer is when stone fruits really come into their own, which is the perfect time of year to make your very own nectarine gin syrup. Use a nectarine or two on their own, or mix with yellow and white peaches for added depth. If it’s complexity that you’re after, you can even add a quick spice infusion: think cinnamon sticks, or star anise.
HONEY & EARL GREY
Fragrant and crisp, our earl grey syrup is the perfect savoury yet refreshing addition for an uplifting twist on a summer classic.
For a 500 ml batch you will need:
200 ml still filtered water
300 ml runny honey
1 Earl Grey tea bag
1. Measure 200 ml still water and pour into a small saucepan.
2. Heat the water until you see bubbles begin to form. Do not boil the water.
3. Turn off the heat. Then add 1 x Earl Grey tea bag.
4. Stir gently, then allow to infuse undisturbed for 5 minutes.
5. Gently stir for one last time then remove the tea bag. Then add 300 ml runny honey.
6. Thoroughly stir the honey into the warm tea until everything is fully mixed together.
7. Allow the syrup to cool. Then, use a funnel to decant the syrup into a clean glass bottle or similar sealable vessel.
8. Label “Honey & Earl Grey Syrup” and write down the date it was made.
9. Keep refrigerated until ready to use. Best before 14 days.
10. Shake the bottle/vessel containing the syrup well before use.
To your simple syrup recipe, add 20g fresh or dried lavender and leave to infuse for 12 hours, before double straining through a fine sieve or clean dish cloth.
Don’t forget to tag us in your homemade syrup creations on social media @sipsmith, or send us a message if you have any questions for our syrup expert. You can find more gin-spiration for your cocktailing at home below.