Homemade Spicy Jalapeño Simple Syrup for Cocktails

Homemade spicy jalapeño simple syrup recipe

The Spruce / Ali Redmond

Prep: 3 mins
Cook: 7 mins
Steep: 20 mins
Total: 30 mins
Servings: 32 servings
Yield: 2 cups
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
51 Calories
0g Fat
13g Carbs
0g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 32
Amount per serving
Calories 51
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 13g 5%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 13g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 1mg 3%
Calcium 2mg 0%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 7mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Spicy and sweet, jalapeño pepper syrup is a fantastic way to heat up your favorite cocktails. This homemade simple syrup is very easy to make and can be adjusted to be as spicy as you like.

This particular recipe uses either turbinado or demerara sugar, two types of raw sugar. They have a richer flavor than standard white sugar, which makes them an ideal foundation to stand up to the heat of chile peppers.

Also, in order to combat the spice of the jalapeño, you need a rich simple syrup—meaning it uses twice as much sugar as water. By keeping the ratio sweeter and using the darker sugars, the syrup is not as spicy as you might think and that is why it's perfect for drinks.

"I made the jalapeño simple syrup with turbinado sugar, which gives it the dark color. The recipe worked perfectly and was extremely easy. The flavor is spicy and delicious. Keep in mind that jalapeño pepper heat can vary, so you might want to do a quick taste test before adding them to the syrup mixture." —Diana Rattray

Homemade Spicy Jalapeño Simple Syrup for Cocktails Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1 cup water

  • 2 cups turbinado sugar, or demerara sugar

  • 2 jalapeño peppers, rinsed and sliced

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for spicy jalapeño simple syrup for cocktails

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond

  2. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the water to a boil and add the sugar. Stir constantly until the sugar is dissolved.

    Sugar dissolved in water in a small saucepan

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond

  3. Add the jalapeño slices to the pan. Reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.

    Jalapeños with water and sugar for simple syrup in a small saucepan

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond

  4. Remove from the heat and let the syrup steep for 20 minutes.

    Jalapeño sugar syrup steeping in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond

  5. Strain through a fine mesh strainer to remove the pepper slices.

    Jalapeños removed from simple syrup and in a strainer

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond

  6. Store in a sealed container and refrigerate. Mix into drinks and enjoy.

    Homemade Spicy Jalapeño Simple Syrup for Cocktails

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond


  • When experimenting, you might want to scale the recipe down. Use 1 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of water, and 1 pepper to get 1/2 cup of syrup.
  • You can also use regular brown sugar (turbinado and demerara are both brown in color) if you like. If that's too sweet, use equal parts of brown and white sugars.

Adjusting the Spice

When making drinks with hot peppers, it's important to remember that less can be more. If you create a syrup that is too spicy, even the sweetest drinks with the most flavorful mixers can become too hot to enjoy.

More than any other homemade simple syrup, you need to test this syrup throughout the process. As soon as the syrup reaches your desired flavor, strain out the peppers.

The capsaicin of chile peppers (the part that produces the most heat) is primarily held in the white flesh inside the pepper. If you expose this to the syrup, it will produce a spicier syrup.

  • For a milder syrup, don't cut the pepper. Simply place it whole in the syrup. The infusion may take a little longer but will be more savory than spicy.
  • If you want more heat, slice the peppers as directed in the recipe.
  • Some pepper varieties are hotter than others and even two jalapeños can vary from one another. Even if you make this syrup twenty times, you will need to test the spiciness throughout for each batch.

How to Store and Freeze

  • Store unused simple syrup in the refrigerator and use within 1 month.
  • Simple syrup may be frozen for longer storage. Freeze simple syrup in small freezer containers (not glass), freezer bags, or ice cube trays for up to 1 year.

How to Use Jalapeño Syrup in Cocktails

Jalapeño syrup is an intriguing cocktail ingredient with many possibilities. You'll find some drink recipes that call for it specifically, but it's also something you'll want to experiment with on your own.

Pineapple is a perfect pairing for jalapeños, and the two are often found together:

  • The épicé sidecar was created by David Brenner of New York. It adds the spicy syrup and pineapple to the classic sidecar for a fascinating twist. To make it, shake 1 1/2 ounces Cognac, 1 ounce fresh pineapple juice, 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice, and 1/4 ounce jalapeño simple syrup with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass rimmed halfway around with raw sugar.
  • In the spicy pineapple shandy, jalapeño syrup is paired with tequila, lemon and pineapple juices, and a pale ale beer for a refreshing summer drink.
  • This creative pineapple jalapeño margarita recipe adds lime juice to the syrup. It rims the glass with sea salt, sugar, and smoked paprika and garnishes the cocktail with a candied jalapeño.

Other cocktails to consider include adding a spicy sweetness to a tequini or margarita. It's also an interesting addition to the gin-based hair of the dog recipe. Warm apple cider infused with cinnamon and sweetened with jalapeño syrup can be delicious as well. Spike it with rum, tequila, vodka, or whiskey.

If you're feeling adventurous, pair the spice with chocolate in a chocolate martini or with heavily-flavored fruits such as pomegranate. For a nonalcoholic drink, use this syrup in homemade lemonade (lemons are another great jalapeño pairing).