Simple syrup is simple. It’s right there in the name. But that doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Wine-based simple syrups can turn a bland cocktail into one with panache, and best of all, they’re easy to make at home.

Traditional simple syrup is a one-to-one ratio of sugar to water. A thicker, sweeter syrup can be made with a two-to-one sugar to water ratio. Simple syrups are commercially available, but many bars and home cocktail enthusiasts make their own to better control the level of sweetness.

The logical next step is to pull a Jesus and swap out the water for wine. It’s the perfect use for the last bit of wine left over from your last party (or for that cheap bottle that you just couldn’t bring yourself to finish). Any unoaked wine will work, but acidic varieties like Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, and high-acid rosés work best, creating a sweet, slightly tart simple syrup. Bonus: Rosé simple syrups add a dash of millennial pink to clear drinks.

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Once you have your simple syrup, try adding it to classic cocktails like the Gin and Tonic, Negroni, Margarita, and Whiskey Sour. One taste and you’ll be sweet on leftover wine for life.

How to make your own wine simple syrup

Making your own simple syrup is ultimately about experimentation. Start with small batches to test ratios (less sugar will make it thinner, whereas more sugar provides a thicker syrup) as well as which types of wines you prefer. Then scale up your favorite. You can even add an ounce of vodka to preserve it longer. On its own, simple syrup will last about one to two months without spoiling.


1 cup sugar (we prefer granulated, but any sugar works)
1 cup unoaked wine


Combine sugar and wine in a saucepan over low heat. Keep the heat level at medium-low, stirring occasionally. When the sugar is completely dissolved, take the saucepan off of the heat source to cool. Store in an airtight container.