If you're going to go beyond serving beer at a party, there are a few things you should always have on hand in your home bar setup. Various liquors, wines and equipment, yes - we'll get to all of those another day. If you're going to be shaking up cocktails, you also need the stuff that makes each drink unique. Ingredients like soda water, lemons, limes and especially simple syrup.
Why make simple syrup? It is an ingredient in many classic drinks, and it's also great for making nonalcoholic beverages like the blueberry basil lemonade from earlier this week. Sugar that is already dissolved in water is much easier to mix into other liquids to create a successful beverage. This multitool is easy to make, easy to store and essential.
This is a personal preference that's reflected in the recipe below, but I like to make my simple syrup on the light side. It's easy to over-sweeten drinks. And when the damage is done, it's impossible to go back. Why not take it easy? You can always add more if you need, and many drinks would fare better if only subtly sweetened.
Here's what you need:
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
Have a glass vessel of some kind on hand for storage. This will make pretty close to 1 cup of liquid.
Bring the two ingredients to a boil in a saucepan, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon. Turn the heat down and simmer until clear. I like to reduce it a little bit (for about ten minutes). This will give you something much thinner than say, corn syrup or pancake syrup, but not watery, either.
Store in the fridge... you will use it long before it has a chance to go bad. I don't even know how long it would take for something so high in sugar to go bad in the fridge. I don't plan on finding out!