Simple, Simple Syrups Photo

Simple, Simple Syrups & Cocktail Recipes

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We all feel it; those last few sad moments when you are about to finish that bottle of bourbon or whiskey. It’s always so hard to say goodbye to that delicious water of life! Especially when it could be a bottle that you really enjoy and may not be able to get your hands on for a while.

So what do you do with your empty bottles? Do you trash them, recycle them or re-use them? For me, it will depend on the bottle, some of the bottles for me aren’t worth saving, but a few are. I’ve used many of my old bottles as olive oil bottles, hand soap dispensers and most recently for my simple syrups.

I always say I drink my bourbon the way God intended it to be drunk,” Neat”, but in the words of the Great Fred Noe, “Drink your bourbon any damn way you please”. Whether that’s with water, ice, as a mixed drink with bitters and simple syrups or even ginger ale, the only thing I will not support is if you add cola- I’m sorry I just can’t support that.

The heat of the summer sun makes me crave a nice cold refreshing beverage, so bourbon neat just sometimes isn’t my 1st drink of choice. This is where all those great empty bottles of bourbon come in handy for me. On the weekends I often become a home bartender creating different drink recipes (with bourbon) and adding my simple syrups wherever I can.

I never knew how easy it was to make simple syrup until I started to search for ways to use my empty bourbon bottles. You can easily make several batches of traditional simple syrup, or you can even add flavors if you like. Today I’m going to share how to make homemade simple syrup and two of my favorite drinks that incorporate those syrups.

Basic Simple Syrup

(is always one part sugar to one part water)

1 cup water
1 cup sugar

In a medium saucepan, add sugar & water, frequently stirring, bring syrup to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low. (about 5-7 mins)

Once the sugar is dissolved, turn off the heat, cover & let sit for 30 minutes.

If you are looking to add flavor you will follow the same steps as above, after the water boils drop the heat to low, add in your flavor, (mint, vanilla, Thai chili’s, lavender or any other flavor combo you desire) cook for the next 20 mins on low. Remove from heat and allow to cool. (If you are using any fresh herbs, like mint you want to make sure that you slap the herbs in between your hands before adding them to the simple syrup mix, this will allow for the natural oils to come out. You will smell a strong fragrant scent of mint or basil when you do this.)

Don’t worry about those syrups just sitting around, simple syrups aren’t just for drinks, you can use them in your favorite cooking recipes, for a nice enhancement of flavor. Two of my favorite simple syrups for cooking is lemon & basil. Making your own simple syrup is a great way to get some extra use out of those favorite bottles of yours and a great enhancement to your favorite drink/cooking recipes. Now go make some!


  • 3 oz. Lemonade
  • 2 oz. Bulleit Rye
  • 1 oz. Mint Simple Syrup
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters

Place all ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake, and strain over a large ice cube.

Summer Heat

  • 2 oz. Buffalo Trace
  • 1 oz. Thai Chili Simple syrup
  • 2 dashes orange bitters
  • 1 dash of lemon juice

Place all ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake, and strain over a large ice cube.

About the Author

Chrissy Martin


Some of my fondest memories are in the kitchen with my Gram. She spent a lot of time nurturing my naturally curious nature. We spent hours cooking together and as most Italian women, we take great pride in feeding our families. My Gram has since passed, but her famous catch phrase is still with me “A lil’ dab will do ya!" I’ve taken her catchphrase with me throughout my life. Specifically with whiskey in my twenties (haven’t we all). In Jersey, I started drinking the dreaded whiskey and cokes, but my pallet has progressed and now I appreciate all whiskey & bourbons, neat. In fact, I love it so much that I try to incorporate it into my cooking on a steady basis. Hence my blog “A Lil’ Dab Of Bourbon.” My love of all things bourbon continues to progress, and once again I am beginning another chapter. Several months ago, I began my training to be a Whisk(e)y Sommelier and plan to document this journey. Through this journey of flavor profiles, failures and successes I can say that I’ve loved every bit of it! I adore the bourbon community and I love documenting my experiences. I’m excited to share my kitchen adventures with you!