For a lovely hint of herbal notes to your favorite refreshing drinks, you'll love this garden-fresh rosemary simple syrup recipe! All it takes is three simple ingredients and just a few minutes of hands-on prep time to craft the most delicious rosemary syrup that's sure to become one of your favorite kitchen staples. Now let's show you how to mix up a batch and seriously elevate your cocktail, mocktail and even baking game — there are so many uses for this wonderful syrup.
What Is Simple Syrup?
Simple syrup is a liquid sweetener. While you can buy it, you can easily prepare homemade simple syrup at home by boiling water and sugar together. It’s much more economical to make your own syrup, and you don’t have to worry about any funky preservatives.
Although you can muddle and stir sugar into your drinks, it can leave a grainy texture in cold beverages if you don’t completely dissolve the sugar. Boiling makes this process much easier and more efficient.
Your classic simple syrup recipe calls for a 1:1 ratio of sugar and water. A rich syrup uses a 2:1 ratio of sugar and water for a sweeter and thicker syrup. That said, most drink recipes call for a classic ratio, so that’s what we’re sticking to here.
Of course, don’t feel like you have to just use equal parts water and sugar. Like we’re doing here, you can add fruits, other herbs and various aromatics to make a customized simple syrup. I just love making infused syrups and have quite the collection with a variety of flavors for you to try.
- Raspberry simple syrup
- Blackberry simple syrup
- Ginger simple syrup
- Cherry simple syrup
- Spiced cranberry simple syrup
- Gingerbread simple syrup
- Brown sugar-chai simple syrup
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
That pure rosemary flavor: If you love that herbal rosemary flavor, this syrup is for you. After infusing, you get a syrup that tastes like sweetened rosemary in all its glory.
More delicious than store-bought syrup: Sure, you can buy rosemary simple syrup, but why bother when a homemade syrup tastes so much better? You’ll never waste money on overpriced syrups again.
Easy for cooks of all skill levels: You don’t need to be an expert in the kitchen to make this syrup. Beginner cooks can just as easily master this recipe.
Make ahead of parties: If you plan on serving some rosemary cocktails for your next get-together, you can make this syrup well in advance to keep your bartending duties as light as possible.
Rosemary: Make sure you use fresh rosemary sprigs, not dried rosemary. We need that fresh rosemary flavor here. Dried rosemary isn’t nearly as bright.
White sugar: Granulated sugar is the typical simple syrup for sweetener. The neutral flavor really lets the rosemary flavor stand out.
Step 1: We start by adding the sprigs of fresh rosemary, white sugar and water to a small saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat (photo 1). As the mixture works its way to a boil, we want to stir it from time to time to help dissolve the sugar.
Step 2: When the syrup reaches the boiling stage and the sugar dissolves, we turn off the heat and let the syrup steep for at least 15 minutes and up to an hour (photo 2). Just like steeping tea, this allows us to extract more flavor.
Step 3: For our final step, we strain the rosemary syrup over a fine-mesh sieve (photo 3).
In three simple steps, we have our perfect rosemary syrup. We now let the mixture cool and then start putting it to use. The process truly couldn’t be easier.
Ideas for Using Simple Syrup
Generally, simple syrup is most often used for giving a sweet touch to drinks. Depending on the drink, I usually add ½ ounce to 1 ounce for each drink.
That said, simple syrup isn’t only for drinks. These are some of my favorite ways to use this syrup, from drinks to baked goods.
Mix with your favorite cocktail recipes: Grab your cocktail shaker because you're about to play the part of a fancy bartender for your next happy hour. My winter margarita and rosemary Kentucky mule both call for rosemary syrup, so you already have two recipes for craft cocktails right there.
Turn into a rosemary lemonade or tea: Instead of plain simple syrup, that fresh herbal flavor instantly elevates your next pitcher of iced tea or lemonade. It also works nicely with hot tea.
Use on your next white cake: Brushing simple syrup onto cake layers helps keep your baked treat extra moist while delivering an elegant flavor boost.
Add to your favorite dishes: Some popular uses include stirring simple syrup into yogurt parfaits, oatmeal, fruit salads or oatmeal. It’s also great for poaching fruit or topping with vanilla ice cream.
Give as gifts: This flavored simple syrup even makes a thoughtful and economical gift, especially around the holidays. I like to pour it into a small mason jar and add a pretty ribbon.
How to Store and Freeze
Make sure you store this simple syrup in a sterile, airtight container in the refrigerator to extend its shelf life. With proper storage, it can last for two to three weeks, but keep an eye out for cloudiness. That means it's time to make a new batch.
And please keep it in the refrigerator, not at room temperature. The syrup will spoil quickly if you don’t keep it in the refrigerator.
In case you need to preserve the syrup for a longer period, you can freeze it. I suggest freezing it in 1-ounce quantities using an ice cube tray with a cover. If you don't have a cover, freeze the cubes until solid and transfer them to a large freezer bag. You can keep this syrup frozen for up to three months for best results.
Simply swap the sugar with your favorite sugar substitute and be sure to look at the package for the substitution ratio since many alternative sweeteners are not a 1:1 swap. Stevia, for instance, is actually sweeter in flavor than sugar.
No, canning requires a certain acidity level for food safety reasons. If you need longer storage, freeze as recommended above.
One batch of simple syrup will yield about 1 ½ cups. This is equal to 12 ounces. If you figure 1 ounce per drink, that’s 12 drinks.
Variations and Substitutions
If you’d like to put a fun spin on your rosemary syrup with different flavors, here are a few ways you can do just that.
- Substitute honey for white sugar in equal parts.
- Add 1 cup peeled fresh ginger or a cinnamon stick or two.
- Introduce some citrus flavors with some grated lemon zest or even lemon juice.
- Use this as your base recipe for other fresh herbs and swap rosemary for basil, mint, sage or thyme.
If you come up with your own unique flavors, be sure to let me know. I'd love to hear how else you customize this recipe.
Don’t skip the steeping: For the best flavor, follow this step. This is when you get quite a bit of flavor infused into your syrup.
Use bright-green rosemary free of brown spots: If you pick up your rosemary from the grocery store instead of harvesting from the garden, give it a once over to make sure it’s still in good shape.
Store the syrup in a squeeze bottle: This makes pouring much cleaner, and you can work faster mixing drinks. You may also find it’s easier to transfer the cooled syrup to the squeeze bottle using a small funnel.
Keep an eye on the mixture: The water will start boiling in no time, so you don’t want to stray off.
You will just love serving a rosemary cocktail on the side of a big meat roast, like my smoked leg of lamb or smoked prime rib, and a side of fingerling potatoes. These roasts are coated in rosemary and other delightful herbs and then smoked to perfection. Your rosemary cocktail will complement those herbaceous notes of those savory dishes nicely.
For a unique twist to your favorite cocktails and other drinks, I hope you try this homemade rosemary simple syrup recipe. You’ll love that fresh herb flavor in every sip.
Make More Simple Syrup Recipes
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Rosemary Simple Syrup
- Small saucepan
- Fine-mesh sieve
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup water
- 5 large fresh rosemary sprigs
- Combine the white sugar, water and rosemary in a small saucepan. Over medium-high heat, bring to a simmer and then a boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar.
- Once the mixture boils and the sugar dissolves, turn off the heat. Let the mixture steep for at least 15 minutes and up to an hour.
- Place a bowl or measuring cup under a fine-mesh sieve or strainer. Strain the rosemary from the liquid and discard the solids. The liquid is your simple syrup. Allow to cool and then store in a sterile, airtight container in the refrigerator. Enjoy!
- If stored correctly, the syrup should last two to three weeks. Make sure you store it in the refrigerator, not at room temperature. It's time to make a new batch when the syrup turns cloudy.
- For easy pouring, store in a squeeze bottle.
- Make ahead of serving time if possible to allow the syrup to fully chill.
- Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.