It may or may not be iced coffee weather yet where you live, but tuck this info away for later when it's hot as blazes out: Regular, dry sugar just won't cut it. The granules don't dilute easily into cold liquid like they do into your nice steaming cup, and you're left with a bunch of gritty yuck at the bottom. There is a better way, and it can even add a touch of extra flavor to your beloved beverage. We're talking about simple syrup here—which can be made on your stovetop in a matter of minutes using just two ingredients: sugar and water. One more if you feel like getting wacky, but let's start with the basic formula.
You'll see simple syrup recipes all over the place that call for equal measures of sugar and water, and sure, that'll work just fine. But if you like a heavier, silkier syrup, opt for a 2:1 ratio of sugar to water. It just takes a brief simmer to meld the two, and you can surely stop there—but why? Baking spices, herbs (think mint, thyme, and rosemary), dried chiles, citrus zest, and whatever other ingredients you desire can add an extra note of flavor.
And hey, crazy thought—you could even add powdered espresso to the mix and swirl sweet coffee syrup into your coffee (along with frozen coffee ice cubes) for an extra shot of undiluted, ultra-caffeinated joy.
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
Optional: 1/2 split vanilla bean, cinnamon sticks, sliced ginger, citrus zest, herbs, star anise, cardamom pods, dry chiles, instant espresso powder—obviously not all together, but you knew that
How to Make It
Stir the water and sugar over medium heat until the mixture simmers and thickens to your desired consistency. If you're adding any extra flavorings, give it an extra few minutes over the heat.
Let it cool completely before straining out any solids and transferring to a lidded jar. Store in the refrigerator for up to a month. Stir into iced coffee, iced tea, and cocktails.