Vanilla Simple Syrup Recipe for Cocktails and Other Drinks

Ingredients for Making Vanilla Simple Syrup
Danielle Leavell / Photodisc / Getty Images
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Infuse: 8 hrs
Total: 8 hrs 20 mins
Servings: 16 servings
Yield: 1 cup
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
97 Calories
0g Fat
25g Carbs
0g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 16
Amount per serving
Calories 97
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 25g 9%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 25g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 1mg 0%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 1mg 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.)

A perfectly flavored drink sweetener, this sugar syrup has the pure taste of real vanilla beans. This homemade vanilla syrup can be added to many cocktails and sweeten other drinks like coffee and spiced teas.

One thing that you will notice about this syrup recipe versus many others is that it uses 2 parts sugar to just 1 part water. This is preferable with vanilla because it creates a richer syrup that really allows the flavor to shine.

If you want to add an extra spice, try this vanilla-ginger simple syrup.


Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Add the sugar and stir constantly until all of the sugar is dissolved.

  3. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

  4. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and place it in a heatproof jar or bottle.

  5. Pour the hot syrup over the vanilla bean, cover, and let stand for 8 to 10 hours.

  6. Remove the bean, bottle, and store in the refrigerator. Use in your favorite drinks and enjoy.

This recipe makes 1 cup of simple syrup and can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one to two weeks. You can easily increase this recipe to make a larger batch.


  • Use it as a sweetener in your morning coffee or afternoon tea.
  • Depending on where you shop, vanilla beans can be expensive, which is why the recipe uses only one bean for a batch of syrup. If you find a good deal, you could use two beans, but the long infusion time will make a very flavorful syrup with just one bean.
  • A single bean can also be used to make more simple syrup in the same batch. I've had success with making 3 cups of syrup (3 cups water, 6 cups sugar) with one bean.


Vanilla Extract Substitute: I have successfully made a vanilla simple syrup using vanilla extract when I was out of whole beans. This is considerably easier, especially if you have the extract available for your baked goods. The taste is similar, but not quite the same or as intense as it is with a real bean. It does a fair job in most cocktails and is considerably cheaper. All you need to do is add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract to the sugar and water mix above. A long steeping time is not necessary and the syrup will be ready for use as soon as its cool.

8 Cocktails to Try This Vanilla Syrup

There are not many cocktail recipes that specifically call for vanilla simple syrup. That does not mean that it is not a useful ingredient in the bar.

I would recommend using it in drinks that use plain simple syrup where you think vanilla would be a nice complement. The nice thing about vanilla is that it's very transparent and has a wide pairing range.

Here are a few suggestions to get you started...

  • CafĂ© Brasileiro - A hot coffee cocktail with cachaca, chocolate liqueur and vanilla cream.

  • Champagne Bowler - Fresh strawberries with cognac and sparkling wine in a classic drink.

  • Cherry Lane - Benedictine and cherry vodka come together in a simple, delightful cocktail.

  • Crème BrĂ»lĂ©e Martini - Vanilla vodka with creme anglaise for a decadent martini.

  • Eye Candy - Gin, elderflower and a hint of ginger and mint.

  • Green Lemonade - Kiwi, limeade and lemonade mix up for a fun mocktail.

  • Nutty Martini - A popular cocktail with vodka and hazelnut.

  • Watermelon Cosmo - A simple and fruity vodka martini you'll love in the summer.