Lemon-Basil Simple Syrup

The finished product: Lemon-Basil Simple Syrup…great in iced tea, lemonade, or even in cocktails!

Simple syrup is something I usually keep on hand in my fridge. It’s easy to make – simple, really 😉 – and stores for quite some time. It never lasts long enough for me to determine just how long; however, it has kept for a least 2 weeks by my records.

I especially like to keep it on hand in the summer. I like sweet tea when I drink it iced, and granulated sugar tends not to dissolve so well in cold drinks. Lemonade is another great use. If you have kids on hand it makes a refreshing drink, one that you know where the ingredients came from. I’d never go so far as to say it is healthy, but this is not so processed as the typical corn syrup.

And of course it is perfect to keep on hand for mixed drinks, such as Sangria and Mint Juleps. Or perhaps added to some Gin and fresh squeezed lemon juice with a splash of soda water…

What makes this so simple? There are only a couple of ingredients for the simple syrup (sugar and water), plus any infusions you wish to add.
Simple syrup in the process of being infused with fresh basil and lemon. No need to worry about seed since it gets strained later


My recipe for a plain simple syrup takes little time at all.


Combine 1 part water to 1 part sugar in heavy saucepan*. Stir sugar and water over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 2 minutes. Transfer syrup to bowl and chill thoroughly. DO AHEAD: Syrup can be made in advance. I have kept it for as long as 2 weeks. Not sure how much longer it lasts since it’s never made it longer than that. Cover and keep refrigerated.

*NOTE: if you want a ‘heavier’ syrup you can do 2 parts sugar to 1 part water. Proceed as above for the rest of the recipe

It’s easy to infuse it with other flavors as I did above…and this is where your creativity comes into play:

For a Lemon-Basil Syrup (shown above): I added 2 small lemons, sliced, and about 2 cups of basil once I took the syrup off of the heat. I let it infuse for 15-20 minutes, then strained it into a bowl. Once it is cool it gets covered and placed into the fridge until you are ready to use it. If you are worried it will be too bitter using the entire lemon you can use the zest only. [I have not had any issues with bitterness with either method.]

Other infusion ideas (all of these are infused for 15-20 minutes):

  • Jalapeño: infuse 1-2 sliced peppers into the hot syrup – with or without the seeds depending on how spicy you want it. This is great in a spicy Pineapple-Jalapeño Margarita
  • Spiced Simple Syrup: infuse the hot syrup with 1-2 star anise, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 tsp. red pepper flakes, and 5 whole cloves. This is great in a red sangria to give it a little spicy kick!!
  • Ginger Syrup: infuse syrup with about 1 finger of ginger, sliced (or grated). You can increase the ginger if you want a more potent syrup.

Really, the ideas are only limited to your imagination!! Do you have a favorite simple syrup and a favorite way to use it? I’d love to hear about it!!

Please share with your friends, thank you!

4 thoughts on “Lemon-Basil Simple Syrup

  1. Cindy, yummm! Thanks for the reminder that simple syrup is so easy to make. And thanks for the ideas about infusions. I have found an organic sugar that feels much healthier in my body that regular sugar, so I don’t fear drinking or eating something sugary now and then. You are a brilliant flavorist! I really enjoy your offerings!

    1. Thank you! Cooking and baking are my creative outlets…it’s fun and any mistakes are quickly…uhm…taken care of!! 😉 My family usually enjoys the ‘mistakes’.

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