Flavored syrups have started lining the shelves of our grocery aisles. If you’re tired of those artificial flavors and additives, why not make your own at home? Homemade syrups are healthier and cheaper than store-bought ones, and they allow you to customize your favorite flavors and experiment with new ones.
We have five flavored syrups that you can make at home: one for each season and one year-round favorite. Each of these concoctions uses a simple syrup base: boiling equal parts white sugar and water until the sugar is fully dissolved. From there, you can make things interesting. Here’s how.
Winter: Peppermint Syrup
You’ve probably passed by the peppermint extract in the baking aisle every time you reached for a fresh bottle of vanilla. You can take a chance on this concentrated mint flavor and bring it into your drinks. Dissolve your sugar in water, but before you add a teaspoon of peppermint extract, take your saucepan off the burner and let the mixture cool down a bit. Boiling temperatures can sap your syrup of peppermint’s flavor compounds. Now, you have a minty sweetener perfect for winter cocktails with candy-cane garnishes. For a more everyday use, try adding peppermint to your morning coffee.
Spring: Lavender Syrup
Lavender’s floral notes have gone mainstream in recent years, with Newsweek pegging it as 2024’s new food trend. It’s worth adding this beautiful scent to food and drink—as long as you do so safely. Add two tablespoons of dried food-grade lavender buds to your water and white sugar and strain them out. However, don’t use droplets of aromatherapy essential oils, as they are unsafe for human consumption.
Summer: Basil Syrup
The strong, minty flavor of peppermint is perfect for the winter season, but as summer rolls around, the subtler notes of basil can be an interesting addition to your drinks. Try muddling a cup of fresh basil leaves in your saucepan, discarding the leaves once you’ve finished boiling. The basil imparts a refreshing, herbal flavor to drinks that’s slightly minty and just a bit peppery but nothing like peppermint. Sweeten your iced tea with basil syrup to make it extra refreshing, or try it in a summer cocktail on a hot day.
Fall: Pumpkin Spice Syrup
Is picking up your morning PSL every day busting your budget? Be your own barista. As magical as the autumnal spirit may feel, there’s nothing supernatural about making pumpkin spice drinks at home. For this recipe, you’ll sub out white sugar for brown sugar to get those extra notes of molasses. Add ¼ cup of pureed pumpkin along with a tablespoon or so of your favorite fall spices—cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, cloves—in whatever proportion you like. After all, you have become your own barista. Strain out the pumpkin puree, let your mixture cool, and enjoy days and days of the quintessential fall drink.
All Year Long: Hibiscus Syrup
Looking for something less seasonal? Thanks to its versatile flavor, hibiscus is a delicious flavored syrup you can make at home year-round. Combine dried hibiscus flowers with some lemon zest and enjoy it in cocktails, black tea, coffee, and more.
Flavored syrups are popular and you have probably seen them on grocery store shelves. However, those syrups can be laden with corn syrup and other ingredients that aren’t natural. Making your own syrups isn’t that hard and you will know exactly what is in them.