Easy Demerara Syrup Recipe for Cocktails & More

Add a decadent caramel flavor to your iced coffee or cocktails with this homemade Demerara syrup recipe. It’s incredibly simple to make yet adds so much flavor to any beverage!

bottle of demerara syrup on a marble table with coffee.

What is Demerara Syrup?

Demerara syrup is a sweet syrup made from Demerara sugar, a natural cane sugar that undergoes minimal processing. Demerara sugar is characterized by its distinctive brown color and larger sugar crystals that add a crunchy texture and rich flavor to any recipe.

Real Demerara sugar is traditionally from Guyana in South America, which was previously called Demerara when it was a colony (source). It is now available from several different countries and regions.

To make your own syrup, you’ll dissolve equal parts sugar and water over the stove until the large sugar crystals dissolve. It has a much richer, deeper flavor than regular simple syrup with subtle notes of toffee and caramel. Perfect for coffee drinks and classic cocktails!

Why you’ll love this homemade demerara syrup recipe


  • CHEAPER THAN STORE BOUGHT: Making demerara syrup at home is so much cheaper than buying it premade from a store! Many people charge over $15 for just 8 ounces of demerara sugar syrup, but it will only cost you a couple of dollars and a little time!
  • RICH CARAMEL FLAVOR: With its natural molasses content, this special sugar adds a delightful caramel-like flavor to the syrup. This dark simple syrup is phenomenal in drinks or adding to your baked goods!
  • PERFECT FOR ICED COFFEE & COCKTAILS: This dark brown sugar is the perfect liquid sweetener to stir into your cold drinks. Since the sugar crystals are already dissolved, you won’t end up with a gritty mess at the bottom of your cup.

Equipment

To make your own demerara syrup, you’ll need just a handful of very simple supplies:

  • Small saucepan
  • Funnel (optional)
  • Mason jar
  • Spoon
ingredients for demerara syrup including sugar and water.

Ingredients

  • Demerara sugar: Although it may be hard to find in stores, this special raw sugar has a distinct flavor profile and color that’s perfect for this drink. You can also substitute turbinado sugar or brown sugar in a pinch. 
  • Water: You always need water to make a basic simple syrup recipe and this recipe is no exception. I prefer to use filtered tap water.

How to Make Demerara Syrup

  1. Add the Demerara sugar and water in a small saucepan.
  2. Set the pan on the stove over medium heat and stir occasionally.
  3. Once the sugar dissolves, remove the syrup from the heat and let it cool to room temperature.
  4. Pour the syrup into your favorite jar or glass bottle, and enjoy!
steps for how to make demerara simple syrup.

How to Store Demerara Simple Syrup

Your homemade syrup can be stored 3-4 weeks in the fridge. You can add a splash of vodka or Everclear to extend the longevity of the syrup.

Tips & Variations

  • Make a rich demerara syrup: Double the sugar for a rich syrup with a thicker texture.
  • Add a cinnamon stick, orange peel, or sliced vanilla bean for another layer of flavor.
  • Experiment with various herbs such as rosemary, basil, or thyme to create herbal-infused demerara syrup.
  • Infuse the demerara syrup with 1-2 tbs dried culinary lavender buds for a floral, aromatic flavor. This special lavender simple syrup can be used in beverages, desserts, and even as a flavoring for whipped cream. 
  • Use high-quality ingredients. Start with high-quality demerara sugar and clean, filtered water. 

Demerara Syrup vs Simple Syrup

These two products are very similar and only differ by the type of sugar. The basic simple syrup recipe requires equal parts water and cane sugar. This makes a clear, transparent liquid sweetener that doesn’t have much flavor.

On the other hand, demerara syrup is made with equal parts water and Demerara sugar, which is a special type of unrefined sugar with a light brown color and high molasses content.

The molasses has much more flavor than regular white sugar, giving the demerara syrup a flavor similar to toffee or caramel. 

NOTE: You may sometimes see this syrup sold as a “rich syrup.” This simply refers to the ratio of sugar to water. Rich syrups are made with twice as much sugar as water, which gives them a thicker viscosity and a richer flavor.

Even if you make rich syrup, you’ll still be spending significantly less on your syrup than buying a fancy one online!

mug of coffee with demerara syrup.

How to Use Demerara Syrup

​Simple syrups are so much more useful than you’d expect! They can be used to sweeten your favorite rum cocktails or to lock moisture into your favorite bakes. These are some of my favorite ways to use this special syrup.

  • Add it to your favorite cocktail recipes for a caramel-like flavor and color
  • Brush onto cakes to lock in moisture and flavor 
  • Sweeten coffee drinks or iced tea
  • Make a refreshing brown sugar lemonade
  • Add to whipped cream for a mild molasses flavor

​Demerara Syrup Cocktails

This syrup is most traditionally used in craft cocktails, and these recipes are a great way to make sure you get good use out of your batch!

The Charleston Breakfast Coffee
A southern take on Irish coffee, this cocktail is perfect for cold nights or early mornings and uses demerara syrup to provide a rich depth of flavor. 

81 Old Fashioned
A new take on an old classic, the 81 Old Fashioned combines the rich, toffee notes of demerara syrup with three types of bitters resulting in a fun and complex cocktail. 

Aged Grappa Espresso Martini
This modern take on an espresso martini pairs the classic flavors of demerara syrup with espresso and grappa. 

Benjamin Barker Daiquiri
This drink uses Campari, which gives it a red tint. The name was inspired by one of Sweeney Todd’s aliases.

Shaken Rum Sangria
This shaken rum sangria pairs this sweet syrup with fruity elements for a unique red wine sangria. 

FAQs

How long does demerara syrup last?

Like most syrups, the shelf life depends on how it is stored and whether any contaminants come into contact with it.  If you store your syrup in an airtight container in the refrigerator, it can typically last for around 3-4 weeks. 

Can you substitute turbinado sugar for demerara?

Both turbinado sugar and demerara sugar are types of cane sugar that undergo minimal processing, which preserves more of their molasses content than regular refined granulated sugar. This results in crunchy crystals with a mellow molasses flavor. They can usually be used interchangeably.

What is Demerara syrup made of?

Demerara syrup is a type of syrup made with demerara sugar, which is a minimally refined cane sugar with a distinctive brown color and slightly caramelized flavor.  Simple syrup is made with equal parts water and sugar, whereas rich syrup is made with two parts sugar and one part water. 

Related Recipes

If you love this easy Demerara syrup recipe, make sure to check out these simple syrup recipes: 

glass bottle of demerara syrup with coffee mug.
bottle of demerara syrup on a marble table with coffee.

Easy Demerara Syrup Recipe

Add a decadent caramel flavor to your iced coffee or cocktails with this homemade demerara syrup recipe! It's incredibly simple to make yet adds so much flavor to any beverage!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Cooling Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Appetizer, Baking, cocktails, Drinks
Cuisine American, south american
Servings 12 ounces
Calories 67 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
  

Instructions
 

  • Add the Demerara sugar and water in a small saucepan.
  • Set the pan on the stove over medium heat and stir occasionally.
  • Once the sugar dissolves, remove the syrup from the heat and let it to cool to room temperature.
  • Pour the syrup into your favorite jar or glass bottle, and enjoy!

Notes

One batch makes approximately 1.5 cups or 12 ounces. The nutritional facts are based on a 1-ounce serving.
This homemade Demerara syrup typically lasts for 3-4 weeks in an airtight container in the fridge.
  • Make a rich demerara syrup: Double the sugar for a rich simple syrup with a thicker texture.
  • Add a cinnamon stick, orange peel, or sliced vanilla bean for another layer of flavor.
  • Experiment with various herbs such as rosemary, basil, or thyme to create herbal-infused demerara syrup.
  • Infuse the demerara syrup with 1-2 tbs dried culinary lavender buds for a floral, aromatic flavor. This special lavender simple syrup can be used in beverages, desserts, and even as a flavoring for whipped cream. 
  • Use high-quality ingredients. Start with high-quality demerara sugar and clean, filtered water. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1ounceCalories: 67kcalCarbohydrates: 17gSodium: 1mgPotassium: 5mgSugar: 17gCalcium: 3mgIron: 0.1mg
Keyword demerara sugar syrup, demerara syrup recipe
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recipe for how to make demerara simple syrup at home.

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