Demerara syrup is a simple syrup on a whole other level. Our demerara simple syrup recipe has only 2 ingredients, takes 5 minutes to make, and can be used in cocktails, baking, and savory recipes. With a deep rich flavor, it makes the perfect homemade gift.
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Demerara syrup is popular for winter and fall cocktails featuring whiskey, bourbon, rye, or spiced rum. But I also think it pairs well with mezcal. I use it in our mezcal paloma whenever I have some on hand.
Plus it makes a great last-minute gift for the holidays. But I love to give demerara syrup as a homemade housewarming gift.
Why do we love this recipe?
- Gluten Free
- Cost 80% less than premade demerara syrups
- Can be used in a variety of ways
- Flavor variations are unlimited
We only need two ingredients to make demerara simple syrup at home. Demerara sugar and water.
Demerara sugar is a minimally processed sugar. The minimal processing gives it a golden-brown color and it has large grains that give it a crunchy texture. The taste is deeper than turbinado sugar
Demerara sugar originated from the British colony of Demerara, now called Guyana. But most often the sugar is now sourced from Africa.
Demerara sugar can be purchased at most large grocery stores and specialty grocery retailers. It is often found in the spice section if you can't locate it next to the sugars. It is nationally available at Whole Foods and on Amazon.
Turbinado sugar is the closest substitute for demerara. Turbinado has a carmel like flavor. Whereas demerara sugar has deeper molasses like flavor. Raw sugar would be the next best substitute when making simple syrup. And light brown sugar for baking applications.
⏲️How to Make Demerara Syrup
Add the demerara sugar and water to a small saucepan over medium heat. Use a whisk or wooden spoon to gently stir until sugar is dissolved.
Let cool, then pour into a glass jar or bottle and seal tightly with a lid. A funnel comes in handy for this part.
Homemade Demerara syrup should be kept in the fridge. The simple syrup will keep like this for at least one month before getting cloudy. To store longer, double the sugar, a 2 to 1 ratio. This will actually extend the shelf life.
Adding a small amount of vodka, roughly < 1 teaspoon per 8 ounces will extend the shelf life.
Infused syrups will only keep for two weeks.
👩🏻🍳 Expert Tips
- Do not boil the syrup. We want it nice and smooth. We don't want to push simple syrups to one of the candy stages.
- When substituting demerara syrup for honey in recipes go light. About 50% less if usually sweet enough.
🍸How to Use Demerara Syrup
Demerara syrup can be used in place of any plain simple syrup. But it pairs better with some flavors than others. I love it in iced coffee or flavoered iced tea, whiskey smashes, old fashions, and pretty much any drink using spiced rum.
I am not a fan of it in lighter drinks like margaritas or most spritzes.
💭 Simple Syrup Flavors
Quantities listed for our flavored simple syrups are for the 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water ratio. Add flavors to the pan when simmering. Allow the syrup to cool and then strain out when transferring to your storage container.
Ginger- Peel and slice 4 ounces for fresh ginger.
Vanilla- Slice open on vanilla bean pod. One pod can be used to infuse up to 4 times the quantity of sugar.
Cinnamon- Add one large or two small cinnamon stick.
Christmas Spice- Add one cinnamon stick, 2 star anise, a few allspice berries (dried, whole), and 2 to 3 whole cloves,
Salted Carmel- Add ¼ teaspoon of salt per cup of sugar.
Orange- Add the zest of one orange.
No special kitchen equipment is required to make demerara syrup. However, like our sugar scrub and our peppermint creams, when giving as a gift special packaging is in order.
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Demerara Simple Syrup
- Small Saucepan
- Small Glass Bottles
- 1 cup demerara sugar
- 1 cup water
- Add the sugar and water to a small saucepan over medium heat.1 cup demerara sugar, 1 cup water
- Stir until sugar is dissolved. Do not bring the water to a boil.
- Let cool, then pour into a glass jar and seal tightly with a lid.
- Demerara syrup will keep, refrigerated, for one month. Adding a small amount of vodka (< 1 teaspoon) will extend the shelf life.
- Infused syrups will keep for two weeks. See post for recommendations.
- The best substitutes for demerara sugar in simple syrups are turbinado, raw sugar, and honey. Always at a 2 to 1 ratio.
Check out our Homemade Demerara Syrup web story!