Sugar syrup, also known as simple syrup or bar syrup is a very basic combination of sugar and water. It may also include some sort of flavoring, especially when used to make flavored drinks like those found in a coffee shop. Making this ingredient at home is very easy, although the texture can be grainier than commercial versions.
The basic ratio for making sugar syrup is to use two parts sugar to one part water. The water should be brought to a boil in a pan of some sort, and then the sugar should be added. The sugar is then stirred regularly as it dissolves, to ensure that it all dissolves into the water. Once it has dissolved completely, the mixture can be removed from the heat and allowed to cool completely. Once cooled completely, the syrup can be bottled for later use.
It is important to make sure that the sugar is totally dissolved, otherwise the sugar syrup will have a grainy consistency that will make it unusable for many applications. It is a good idea to do relatively small batches at a time, to make sure all of the sugar is dissolved. If massive batches need to be made at once, it can be done, but proper care must be given to stirring the entire mixture, and it can take significantly longer for everything to dissolve.
A good sized large batch is a seven cup yield (1.7L), and can be achieved by combining four cups (950mL) of water to one pound (0.45kg) of sugar, which is roughly equal to 2.28 cups (540mL). The mixture can be changed in order to change its consistency as well. Thin sugar syrup is usually made by using three parts water to one part sugar. Heavy versions are usually made by using equal parts water and sugar, while very thin syrups are be made by further diluting the mixture.
Sugar syrup is a necessary component to any bar, as it is used in a wide range of drinks. It's used in making everything from the Sour Kiss to the Mint Julep to the Long Island to the Scorpion to Jell-O® shots. Because granulated sugar doesn’t mix well with alcohol or generally with cold drinks, sugar syrup acts as a perfect vehicle for the intense sweetness of sugar in liquid. It may also be used to make flavored sweet drinks, like flavored coffees or Italian sodas; and can be added to fruit to make sweet toppings for things like waffles or crepes.
A variation of this ingredient is gomme syrup. It is roughly the same as sugar syrup, except that it has gum arabic added, which acts as an emulsifier. As a result, gomme syrup can have even more sugar added, while still retaining its smooth texture. To make gomme syrup one follows the same steps as to make sugar syrup, but adds gum arabic powder while the water and sugar combination is boiling.