portrait of a cocktail // herb simple syrups

Since spring is (hopefully!) just around the corner, I thought I would present you with a trio of herb simple syrups. We’ve got basil, rosemary and thyme, but feel free to use your favorite herb instead. Simple syrup is one of my favorite ways to add a little sweetness to any cocktail. Better yet though is flavoring the simple syrup. It can take your cocktail to the next level!

The ingredients listed are merely suggestions. This is an opportunity to experiment! Use your favorite herb and mix it with your own sugar-to-water ratio. The standard simple syrup ratio is equal parts water and sugar. However, you can adjust this according to how sweet you want it.


Today I’ve paired these simple syrups with muddled berries and a squeeze of citrus. But again, don’t hesitate to experiment with the combinations and other cocktails.

Rosemary + Strawberry + Grapefruit
Basil + Blackberry + Lemon
Thyme + Raspberry + Orange

Ingredients for 3 simple syrups:

  • 3/4 cups water (divided into 1/4 cups)
  • 3/4 cups sugar (divided into 1/4 cups)
  • 3 rosemary sprigs
  • 10 basil leaves
  • 2 bunches of thyme (about twice as much as pictured)

Ingredients for cocktails:

  • Gin
  • Tonic
  • Strawberries
  • Blackberries
  • Raspberries

For Garnish:

  • Grapefruit
  • Lemon
  • Orange
  • Rosemary
  • Basil
  • Thyme


To make the simple syrup, coarsely chop the herb you plan on using. Combine water, sugar and herb in a sauce pan. Stirring frequently over medium heat bring to a simmer, then turn heat off. While stirring bruise herbs to help release more essential oils and get a stronger flavor. You can stop stirring when you turn off the stove. Let the mixture cool completely. Lastly, strain the syrup.

To make one of the cocktails, muddle a few berries in the bottom of a glass with 1 teaspoon of herb simple syrup. Add a shot of gin. Throw in a few ice cubes, top with tonic, and give it a gentle stir. Garnish with a citrus wedge and herb sprig.


Chin Chin!

P.S. More cocktail recipes!