Have you ever had a mocktail or cocktail recipe that called for simple syrup? If so, did you end up with the same question that I did – does simple syrup go bad? I decided to do some research to find out. Read on to learn more about the sweet and sour of simple syrup and if it can go bad.
What Is Simple Syrup?
A basic simple syrup is a combination of two ingredients - 1 part sugar and 1 part water. It's easy and fast to make at home, but you can also buy it at most stores. The ratio of sugar to water varies depending on the desired thickness, and added ingredients, but typically it’s equal parts sugar and water.
The purpose of making simple syrup is to dissolve the granulated sugar into liquid form so that it can easily be added to drinks. Making your own at home gives you the liberty to customize your syrup any way you'd like.
To make simple syrup add 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water to a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat until boiling and the sugar dissolves. Cool then pour into an airtight storage container. This is also called hot process simple syrup.
A cold process sugar syrup is simply the process of adding sugar to a liquid, usually water, and allowing it to dissolve for roughly 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. This cold-processed simple syrup is good for making a small batch, as cold-processed syrup tends to have a shorter shelf life than hot-processed homemade syrup. You can also adjust the amount of sugar for extra sweet syrup.
Does Simple Syrup Go Bad?
The short answer is yes! As with any other food item, if not stored properly, the simple syrup will spoil eventually due to bacteria growth or mold. However, if stored correctly in an airtight container in a cool dry place away from direct sunlight, your homemade or store-bought simple syrup should last for several months without any issues.
The good news is that unopened simple syrup can last for up to 12 months when stored properly in a cool dry place away from direct sunlight. An opened bottle of simple syrup should be refrigerated and used within 6 months for optimal freshness. However, if you store your open bottle properly (in an airtight container) it can last up to 12 months as well!
How Do I Know If My Simple Syrup Is Bad?
If you've noticed that your simple syrup doesn't quite look the same, you're likely questioning if it's still good to use or not. The simple syrup should be clear. A few signs that your simple syrup has gone bad are:
- Cloudy appearance
- Mold has developed
- Smelly odor due to bacterial growth
Typically if you're going to question if it's good or not, then id simply not use it.
What Is The Shelf Life Of Simple Syrup?
Store-bought syrups: If stored properly in a cool dark place such as the fridge or a pantry, the store-bought simple syrup has a longer shelf life of up to 6 months, this is likely due to added preservatives. Obviously keeping the syrup beyond the expiration date calls for double-checking if it's still good or not.
Unopened simple syrup: Unopened store-bought simple syrup could be stored for a long time at room temperature in a pantry, you could even freeze it for longer. Once it's opened, it's best to store it in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.
Homemade simple syrup: A hot-processed simple syrup of just sugar and water should last up to 1 month if stored properly.
Infused simple syrup: By adding herbs, spices, or fruit you've greatly reduced the shelf life of your simple syrup. Mostly due to the fact that those added fresh ingredients will start to break down. If stored properly, and infused simple syrup will last for 1-2 weeks.
How Should I Store Simple Syrup?
To yield the best results store your simple syrup in a sterile container with a tight seal in the refrigerator.
You can sterilize your glass container by submerging it in boiling water and either air drying or drying it in an oven.
I really enjoy working with either of these two options, glass jars or glass bottles with a flip top, or a mason jar.
Can I freeze simple syrup?
Yes! I love to do this as I often am not able to use my homemade simple syrups in a timely fashion. I've been using these awesome storage containers for the freezer recently, for pretty much everything. You should absolutely check them out!
Souper Cubes: Freeze almost anything in these convenient containers, they come in a variety of sizes. This super cubes gift set will cover all of your freezing needs.
Where Can I Use Simple Syrup?
While any types of simple syrup can be used in mocktails or cocktails there are lots of different ways to utilize this delicious ingredient. Some of my favorites include:
- Iced Coffee
- Ice cream topping
- Iced tea
Storing simple syrup in the fridge will help keep your cold drinks cold, but adding flavored syrup to hot drinks is A-Ok as well.
- Hot chocolate
- Hot tea