The Trick To Stabilizing Homemade Simple Syrup

In home bars, novice mixologists use simple syrup to create balanced cocktails from old fashioneds to lemon drop martinis. In front of espresso machine appliances, home baristas use simple syrup to sweeten coffees and lattes, and home bakers use it to add moisture to cakes. If you're in the kitchen in any capacity, there's probably a good chance you'll be working with simple syrup at some point. Luckily for discerning foodies, simple syrup (as its name suggests) is wicked easy to make and use — and it's even easier to use if it's stabilized. To stabilize your simple syrup, add a perhaps unexpected ingredient: corn syrup.

Simple syrup is typically a 1:1 ratio of granulated white sugar and water (that's it). But we like to add 1 to 3 tablespoons of corn syrup as well. Corn syrup is a humectant, meaning it keeps the moisture locked in and prevents your simple syrup from crystallizing over time. You could also use vegetable glycerin, a comparable viscous, clear liquid made from soybean, coconut, or palm oil. Additionally, sugar can act as a natural preservative, but not for particularly long. Since simple syrup is half water, it's important to prevent harmful microbacteria from spawning in there. That's why storing your simple syrup properly is imperative. 

The key to storing your simple syrup

To store, wait for your simple syrup to cool completely, then transfer it to an airtight glass container like a mason jar. Plastic can retain food odors and leach them into your delicate syrup, so glass is really the way to go here. While you're at it, it's a good idea to go ahead and sterilize the storage container you plan to use. This will help keep your syrup preserved for even longer. Hit it with a good dish soap scrub or run it through the dishwasher, and allow it to air-dry all the way before filling. If you tend to make simple syrup on the regular, investing in a set of cute apothecary bottles could be an aesthetically pleasing way to keep your syrup sealed airtight and looking good. 

Keep it in the fridge, where it'll last for three weeks to a month. The freezer works, too, as the sugar concentration will prevent your syrup from freezing solid. For the best flavor, opt for bottled, spring, or filtered tap water, as any lingering minerals will affect the flavor of the syrup. Using distilled water can also help stave off premature spoilage. Not sure if your simple syrup is still stabilized and safe to use? Give it a good inspection. If it's cloudy, that could be mold. If it tastes off in any way, better to be safe than sorry. Toss it and make a fresh batch.