How Does Brown Sugar Syrup Differ From Simple Syrup?

Simple syrup is an essential ingredient in many recipes. It's an easy-to-make mixture that can be used for everything from sweetening cocktails and coffees to keeping cakes moist. Simple syrup allows you to enhance your recipes without having to worry about whether pesky sugar granules will remain. Especially in drink recipes, simple syrup can help you achieve the right flavor with the reassurance that the smooth texture will not be compromised.

According to Bon Appétit, simple syrup comes in two forms: standard and rich (made with twice as much sugar). Bon Appétit continues that simple syrup is most commonly created by dissolving sugar in water over a hot stovetop. The recipe is as simple as that, but the use of simple syrup can lead to more complex flavors in your kitchen creations.

Brown simple syrup is just as simple. According to Kitchn, the only thing that differentiates simple syrup from brown simple syrup is the type of sugar that is used. That means if you wanted to make brown simple syrup, you would simply dissolve brown sugar with equal parts water over a hot stovetop.

Because the ingredients are different, you can expect simple syrup to taste different than brown simple syrup. And, depending on your flavor preference, the type of simple syrup you use matters.

Brown sugar means deeper flavor

According to Kitchn, brown sugar syrup has a more involved flavor than simple syrup made with white sugar. This flavor ranges from toffee-like to having notes of caramel but can also be enriched by infusing with ingredients like cinnamon sticks and orange peels. Classic simple syrup has a sweet, more one-dimensional flavor. 

The difference in flavor comes from the difference in sugars. According to Healthline, the main difference between brown sugar and white sugar comes down to molasses. Molasses is a natural component present in sugar cane and sugar beet plants, but when white sugar is processed, the molasses is removed. On the other hand, per Healthline, brown sugar is made either through less processing or by adding molasses back into white sugar.

Light brown sugar is the most commonly referenced type, according to Eating Well. This variety of brown sugar has about half the amount of molasses as dark brown sugar. Because of this, light brown sugar has a lighter flavor and color. However, both varieties can be used to make brown sugar simple syrup at home (via Kitchn).

If you do make your own simple syrup, whether classic or brown, according to The Spruce Eats, your homemade syrup can be stored in the fridge for up to one month.