The problem of Simple Syrup | Giovanni Ceccarelli

The problem of Simple Syrup


In the Home-made Preparations course I always pay particular attention explaining how syrups, and all the other home-made preparations, should be prepared and stored.

The dangers of preparing home-made ingredients at the bar are very few, unless you use potentially toxic ingredients such as tobacco or raw ingredients that deteriorate rapidly and require more attention during processing and storage.

In this article I’m talking about a very common problem at the bar, the preparation of 50 brix syrups, also called 1:1 syrups or simple syrups.


What is a syrup?

Let’s start from the fact that a syrup must have at least 62 brix[1], or be prepared by dissolving at least 165 grams of sugar per 100 grams of liquid. Read my article about sugar syrup by clicking here.

All that has a sugar content lower than 62% is, in general terms, a premix and not a syrup.

The problem of simple syrup

High sugar concentrations (more than 62%) create an environment that prevents the proliferation of microorganisms, which is not guaranteed in premix called simple syrup (1:1). Simple syrup is a 50% sucrose and water solution.

In the photo that accompanies this article, you see a sous-vide bag full of gas, synonymous that the liquid inside is fermenting. That liquid is a premix of fresh raspberry juice and sugar, 55 brix, which had been stored under vacuum.

It is true that fermentation has started after about 10 days, and that I generally recommend using syrups within 3 days of preparation, but it is also true that it has been stored under vacuum and not in a squeezer on the bar top.

My suggestion is not to call these preparations syrups for two reasons:

  • As already mentioned, a solution of sugar and water can only be called syrup if it contains at least 62% sugar;
  • The word syrup is synonymous with long preservation. It is not enough just to call a liquid’ syrup’ and hope that it will be preserved. A syrup is preserved under certain conditions, in particular if its sugar content is at least 62% (2:1 is 66.7%). Industrial syrups can be stored for a long time mainly for this reason.

So, what should you do?

Assuming that the basic purpose of a syrup is to sweeten a drink, don’t be afraid to prepare 62% sugar syrups. In addition, if you want to store syrups for few days, it is advisable that they are really syrups, i. e. they have the right percentage of sugar.

However, we do not only use and make only syrups, but also various premixes with lower sugar content. In this case you need to pay more attention to storage.

When it comes to storage, the effect of temperature on storage cannot be overlooked. I will come back to this in the future.

Happy mixing,


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