How do you infuse herbs into simple syrup?

What is simple syrup?

Simple syrup is a mixture of equal parts sugar and water that is heated together until the sugar dissolves. It is used to sweeten drinks and add flavor. Simple syrup is quick and easy to make at home.

Why infuse simple syrup with herbs?

Infusing simple syrup with fresh herbs is an easy way to add natural flavor and aroma to drinks. The infusion process allows the flavors and oils from the herbs to be extracted into the simple syrup, giving it a boost of herbal essence. Common herbs used for infusing simple syrup include mint, rosemary, basil, thyme, sage, and lavender.

What herbs work best for infusing simple syrup?

The best herbs for infusing into simple syrup are those with robust, aromatic flavors that impart nicely into liquids. Ideal options include:

  • Mint – Spearmint and peppermint both infuse syrup with refreshing flavor. Mint simple syrup is delicious in lemonade, iced tea, and cocktails.
  • Rosemary – This savory herb infuses bright piney flavor into syrup. It’s excellent in drinks, marinades, and more.
  • Basil – The sweet anise-clove notes of basil shine in infused syrup. Use it in cocktails, desserts, and with fruit.
  • Thyme – Lemon thyme and regular thyme add earthy flavor to syrups for use in tons of recipes.
  • Lavender – The light floral aroma of edible lavender makes syrup delightful in lemonades, teas, and cocktails.

Other herbs like oregano, tarragon, lemongrass, and parsley can also be used but may require straining out after infusing to remove unpleasant textures.

What are the steps to infuse herbs into simple syrup?

Infusing fresh herbs into simple syrup is very easy. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Make the simple syrup base. Heat equal parts sugar and water together in a small saucepan until the sugar fully dissolves. Let cool.
  2. Add the fresh herb. For every 1 cup of simple syrup, add ?? cup of lightly packed fresh herbs. Heartier herbs like rosemary and thyme are best used whole. Delicate leaves like mint and basil should be gently bruised first to help release their oils.
  3. Infuse the herb flavor. Allow the syrup mixture to infuse for 30 minutes up to a few hours. Taste occasionally until desired flavor is reached.
  4. Strain out the herbs. Once infused, pour the syrup through a fine mesh strainer to remove all herbs and particles.
  5. Store and enjoy. Infused simple syrup can be stored refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. Use it to sweeten beverages, make desserts, or as a base for cocktails.

Does the infusion process differ for dried versus fresh herbs?

Yes, there are some differences when infusing with dried herbs versus fresh:

  • Use less – The flavor concentrate of dried herbs is more intense so you need less volume. Use only 1-2 tablespoons of crumbled dried herb per 1 cup of syrup.
  • Infuse longer – Allow dried herbs to infuse for at least an hour, and up to 24 hours for best extraction. Sample often until desired flavor is reached.
  • Fine strain – Dried herb particles are smaller and require fine straining through cheesecloth or a coffee filter to remove them all.

Overall, the process is very similar. Simmer the syrup, add the dried herbs, infuse to taste, then strain it all out before storing.

What is the infusion ratio for making herbed simple syrup?

The basic infusion ratio for herb-infused simple syrup is:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ?? cup fresh herb leaves, lightly packed (or 1-2 Tbsp dried)

This produces about 1 1/2 cups of infused simple syrup. The recipe can easily be doubled or tripled as needed.

How long does herbed simple syrup last?

Properly stored infused simple syrup will last:

  • Refrigerated: Up to 2-3 weeks
  • Frozen: Up to 3-6 months

To extend its shelf life, store the syrup in a tightly sealed glass jar in the fridge or freezer. Be sure to label it with the infusion flavor and date.

Over time, the herb flavors in the syrup will start to lose potency so it’s best to use infused syrup when it’s freshly made if possible.

Should infused simple syrup be refrigerated or can it sit out?

For food safety, it’s important to refrigerate herb-infused simple syrups after they are made. The infusion process introduces fresh herb materials to the syrup, raising the risk of potential microbial growth if left unrefrigerated.

To prevent foodborne illness and maintain quality, infused simple syrup should always be stored covered in the refrigerator. The low temperature environment helps preserve the flavors and shelf life.

Simple syrup infused with more hardy herbs like rosemary, thyme, and lavender can potentially sit out at room temperature for up to 2 days before needing refrigeration. Even so, refrigeration is still the safest practice.

What are some uses for herbed simple syrup?

Herb-infused simple syrup is incredibly versatile. Here are some delicious ways to use it:

  • Sweeten beverages – Add to lemonade, iced tea, coffee/tea, cocktails
  • Make desserts – Use in cakes, muffins, fruit desserts, whipped cream
  • Drizzle over foods – Sweeten and flavor yogurt, oatmeal, pancakes, waffles, french toast, ice cream
  • Make vinaigrettes – Whisk with oil and vinegar for savory salads
  • Use in cocktails – Sweeten and flavor mixed drinks, lemonades, margaritas, martinis
  • Marinate foods – Brush over meats, fruits, and veggies before grilling or roasting

The options are endless! Start with a simple 1:1 substitution of infused syrup in place of regular syrup or other sweeteners in any recipe.

What cocktails work well with herbed simple syrup?

Herb-infused simple syrup shines in many classic cocktails. Some top options include:

  • Mint julep – Made with mint simple syrup, bourbon, and muddled mint leaves
  • Mojito – Muddled mint and lime juice sweetened with mint simple syrup
  • Lavender lemondrop – Vodka, lemon juice, and lavender simple syrup
  • Rosemary Greyhound – Gin, grapefruit juice, and rosemary simple syrup
  • Thyme gin rickey – Gin, lime juice, club soda, and thyme syrup
  • Basil gimlet – Basil infused syrup balances the tart lime and gin

Simple syrup infused with berries like strawberry, blackberry, and raspberry also work extremely well in cocktails. Experiment with herb and fruit infusions!

What desserts pair well with herbed simple syrup?

Herb-infused simple syrup can help add interest and fresh flavor to both hot and cold desserts. Some of the most popular dessert choices include:

  • Panna cotta – Sweetened with lavender or mint syrup
  • Whipped cream – Flavored with rosemary, thyme, or basil syrup
  • Fruit salads – Drizzled with mint or lavender syrup
  • Citrus cakes – Use thyme, rosemary, or lavender syrup in the cake and glaze
  • Pound cake – Infuse basil, thyme, or rosemary syrup right into the batter
  • Scones – Brush scones with thyme or rosemary syrup before baking
  • Lemon bars – Use lavender or rosemary syrup for unique flavor

Syrup infused with berries also pairs wonderfully in desserts. Infused syrup can be substituted 1:1 in place of regular syrup or sugar in any recipe.

What food marinades work well with herbed simple syrup?

Marinating foods in herb-infused simple syrup imparts big flavor. Ideal marinade options include:

  • Chicken – Marinate chicken pieces in rosemary, thyme, or basil syrup
  • Fish – Salmon, tuna, and whitefish taste amazing marinated in lavender or dill syrup
  • Fruit – Peaches, nectarines, plums, and citrus taste delicious marinated in lavender or mint syrup
  • Vegetables – Marinate squash, zucchini, eggplant, and carrots in thyme or rosemary syrup
  • Pork – Infuse pork chops and tenderloins with marinades made using oregano, sage, or thyme syrup

Marinate foods anywhere from 30 minutes up to overnight depending on the intensity desired. The infused syrup helps tenderize while also adding herbaceous flavor.

What drink recipes use herbed simple syrup?

There are endless possibilities for using herbed simple syrup in delicious drink recipes. Here are just a few ideas:

Rosemary lemonade

Add rosemary-infused simple syrup to lemonade for refreshing herbal flavor.


  • 2 cups lemon juice
  • ?? cup rosemary simple syrup
  • 4 cups cold water
  • Ice cubes
  • Lemon slices and rosemary sprigs for garnish (optional)


  1. In a large pitcher, combine lemon juice, rosemary syrup, and water. Stir well until blended.
  2. Add ice and garnish with lemon slices and rosemary if desired.
  3. Serve over ice.

Lavender London fog

Earl grey tea sweetened with floral lavender syrup for a comforting latte-style drink.


  • 2 cups brewed Earl Grey tea
  • 2 tablespoons lavender simple syrup
  • ?? cup steamed milk
  • Lavender buds for garnish (optional)


  1. Brew a strong cup of Earl Grey tea. Allow to cool slightly.
  2. Stir in lavender syrup until combined.
  3. Heat milk until steamed and foamy.
  4. Pour tea into mug and top with steamed milk.
  5. Garnish with dried lavender buds if desired.

Blackberry basil smash

Muddle basil and blackberries with ginger ale and blackberry-basil infused syrup.


  • 8-10 fresh basil leaves
  • 5 blackberries
  • 2 ounces (1/4 cup) blackberry-basil infused syrup
  • 2 ounces (1/4 cup) ginger ale
  • Crushed ice


  1. In a cocktail shaker, gently muddle the basil and blackberries.
  2. Add infused syrup, ginger ale, and crushed ice. Shake vigorously until well-chilled.
  3. Double strain into glass filled with fresh ice.
  4. Garnish with basil leaf if desired.

What are some troubleshooting tips for infusing simple syrup?

Here are some handy troubleshooting tips for infusing simple syrup:

  • Syrup won’t infuse – Bruise or lightly muddle delicate herbs to help release flavor. Increase infusion time.
  • Syrup too weak – Add more herbs and infuse longer next time. Or add extract to boost.
  • Syrup too strong – Dilute with more plain simple syrup to tone down.
  • Bitter, soapy taste – Oils from some herbs can cause soapy flavor. Don’t over-infuse.
  • Syrup has particles – Double strain through cheesecloth or coffee filter to remove.
  • Mold appears – Always store infusion in fridge. Toss if any mold develops.
  • Flavor fades – Use infused syrup within 2-3 weeks. Freeze remainder for longer storage.

When in doubt, start with less herbs and taste often. You can always infuse longer if more flavor is desired. Proper straining and refrigeration are key for best quality too.


Infusing simple syrup with fresh herbs is an easy way to add bright, aromatic flavor to drinks, cocktails, desserts, and more. Follow the basic steps for making any herbed simple syrup infusion. Opt for herbs with robust flavors like mint, rosemary, lavender, basil, and thyme. Infuse syrup on the stovetop then strain out the herbs. Store homemade infusions refrigerated and use within 2-3 weeks for best quality. Get creative with the herb combinations and enjoy using your infused syrups to spice up both sweet and savory recipes!

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