In Praise Of Simple Syrup

Coffee drinkers in summer do well to ice their drinks–an iced latte is my summer coffee drink of choice. Smart coffee shops (Joe in New York, Victrola and Vivace here in Seattle) understand that raw sugar doesn’t dissolve in a cold drink. So iced latte drinkers are normally left with two unpleasant options: grainy sugar crystals up your straw or chemical sweetener (which dissolves better) but ruins a perfectly good coffee drink. Enter simple syrup. Equal parts water and sugar, my favorite coffee shops keep a tall glass bottle of it near the other sweetening options and for a cold coffee drink, nothing is better. Just a little drizzle and your drink is naturally sweetened without being grainy. Three cheers for simple syrup!

13 comments

  1. its also nice for southerners up in the north looking for sweet tea which seems to be an alien food item up here. but a great restaurant i ate at recently here in boston had simple syrup on the counter for the unsweetened tea. FINALLY!

  2. Yeah for simple syrup. I use it all the time in cocktails. I assume those are the “special” beverages Chanelle is referring to. I actually like my iced coffee black, but I love sweet tea. I’m a weirdo.

  3. Agreed! Oren’s in NYC and Intelligensia in Chicago also are smart enough to keep simple syrup on hand. I make it when I have people over and serve iced coffee or tea, so I don’t have to worry about making a drink that’s to everyone’s liking.

  4. Hey! I just made some simple syrup last night for that exact reason – iced lattes. We’re so totally twins! Also fantastic to make limon presse. ^_^

  5. Not to mention it’s great for homemade lemonade. Gone are the days when I’d be stirring that jug for minutes on end, and quietly cursing to myself.

  6. I wish it were warm enough in London to enjoy Iced Lattes at there best- summer has skipped us this year :-(

  7. I add vanilla to my simple syrup for coffee— just a little— yummyyummy.

    AG, have you tried the cold-brewed iced coffee recipe from last week’s NYTimes food section? I’m curious.

  8. Am I the only weirdo who *likes* the crunchy sugar in my iced coffee? Especially when it’s those big honkin’ turbinado crystals?

  9. Amen. I always wondered WHY WHY WHY Starbucks, Coffee Bean and other coffee shops (big and small) don’t carry simple syrup! I lived in Tokyo for seven years and little creamer-like containers of simple syrup are everywhere. It’s hard to understand why more restaurants don’t carry it. Hopefully your post will encourage more cafes to have it around.

  10. On of my first favorite things about Japan were the little creamer-sized cups of sweet simplicity. The coffee there is rarely strong enough for my tastes, but they sure do know how to accessorize it.