Infused Simple Syrup for Cocktails

This recipe comes from Karen Cuda, our guest bartender for the “Taco Night” category of this blog. Karen lives in Denver, Colorado (where I was born and raised), and she bartends at several places there. She was kind enough to brush off her recipe book during quarantine and give me permission to share her concoctions with my readers. Thank you Karen!


  • equal parts water and granulated sugar
  • add “handful” of whichever essence you choose


  1. Put all ingredients into a small saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil, let simmer for 20-30 minutes, strain, cool

Bartender’s Pro-Tip

For “handful” I use 6 large jalapenos cut in half for  4 cups simple syrup, or a large bunch of lavender (leaves and flowers) for the same amount.  It’s really a loose recipe. You want to use enough so the flavor is pronounced.  Obviously the more you use, the stronger the flavor will be. For spicier jalapeno syrup leave the seeds in, and/or use more jalapenos.  This recipe can work with any “essence”.  I’ve used cinnamon sticks, lemon peel, lavender, Thai basil flowers, jalapenos, habaneros, a mixture of apple pie spices (I try to use whole items; cloves/cinnamon, etc. when possible. The powdered will work too, you just have to be sure to shake before use because it will settle.). Be creative!

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