How Long You Can Expect Homemade Simple Syrup To Last

Simple syrup is a well-known ingredient in many cocktails, from appletinis to whiskey sours. But it has uses that extend beyond adding a delightful bit of sweetness to your favorite alcoholic beverage. It can also be used to sweeten non-alcoholic cold drinks, like lemonades, iced teas, and iced coffees — in fact, you shouldn't use granulated sugar to sweeten your cold brews, and should use simple syrup instead. You can also use it to poach fruits, as a base for candies, and to moisten cakes. Simple syrup is also great drizzled over fruit salad, yogurt, oatmeal, and pancakes, and practically sublime when mixed with sorbet and ice cream.

With all these uses, you'll definitely want to keep some simple syrup on hand. And while you can purchase pre-made simple syrup, it's incredibly easy to make at home. The name here is entirely apt — simple syrup, at its most basic, contains just two ingredients: sugar and water. Typically, one part granulated white cane sugar is combined with one part water and heated on the stove over low heat until the sugar dissolves and cools, though it's also possible to dissolve the sugar at room temperature for a slightly thicker syrup (via Mashed). You can also change up the proportion of sugar to water, or infuse the syrup with other flavors by adding herbs, spices, and botanicals, which will not only have an impact on flavor and thickness, but also shelf life.

Homemade simple syrup can last for several weeks to several months

Most homemade simple syrups are good for one to six months, depending on how much sugar is in them, explains Tales of the Cocktail: simple syrup made with a one-to-one ratio of sugar to water is usually good for about a month, while rich simple syrup, made with a two-to-one ratio of sugar to water, should be good for up to six months. Non-conventional simple syrups will have a different shelf life. Infused simple syrups are good for around three months, according to Saveur, although they also suggest giving the syrup a sniff test to make sure it still smells good. Syrups that incorporate juices or purees, however, will only last around two or three weeks.

It's best to keep your simple syrup in the fridge in an airtight container, since leaving it out at room temperature can cause it to spoil in as little as one week, warns Kitchen Sanity. If you see signs of crystallization, a cloudy appearance, or it has an off smell, it's best to toss out that simple syrup and make another batch. After all, it's just sugar water.