Summer Drink Makeovers With Flavor-Infused Simple Syrups

Summer Drink Makeovers With Flavor-Infused Simple Syrups [Strawberry-Thyme Lemonade] - offbeat + inspired

It’s that time of year when stepping outside feels like you’re walking into a sauna. I find myself counting down the days until cooler temperatures arrive, but I know those days are still far off.

I figure it’s not worth holding onto a “grass is always greener” mentality when it comes to weather in Chicago. After all, spending my summer days wishing for fall will only come back to haunt me when I turn into a human icicle come winter.

Summer Drink Makeovers With Flavor-Infused Simple Syrups [Strawberry-Thyme Lemonade] - offbeat + inspired

If we’re going to embrace the heat and humidity, ice-cold beverages are a must. I love creating homemade sweeteners to add a unique twist to basic summer drinks. After I started playing around with flavor-infused simple syrup recipes last summer, I became obsessed. The combinations are endless.

Summer Drink Makeovers With Flavor-Infused Simple Syrups [Strawberry-Thyme Lemonade] - offbeat + inspired

Strawberry-Thyme Simple Syrup
Yields 1 cup syrup, strained

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
6-7 sprigs fresh thyme
6-7 strawberries, hulled and halved
Additional thyme and strawberries to garnish beverage

Add sugar, water, thyme and strawberries to a small saucepan. Turn heat to low and stir until sugar dissolves. Simmer an additional 5-7 minutes to reduce mixture. Remove from heat and let cool. If you prefer a smoother drink, strain out the fruit and thyme.

Homemade Lemonade Base Recipe
Yields about 8 cups (once additional sweetener is added)

2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 12-13 lemons)
1 cup sugar
4-5 cups cold water
Additional simple syrup to taste, such as the Strawberry-Thyme Simple Syrup

Add lemon juice and sugar to a small saucepan. Turn on low heat until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat. Add 4-5 cups of cold water to the mixture. Stir and let cool completely. Stir in desired simple syrup to taste and serve with ice.

Quick Tip 1: Add additional water to the lemonade if you find it too strong.

Quick Tip 2: If you only make this base recipe without additional simple syrup, it will be very tart. If you would like to make basic lemonade without using a fruit and herb infused syrup, simply add an additional cup of sugar to the recipe.

Summer Drink Makeovers With Flavor-Infused Simple Syrups [Peach-Basil Iced Tea] - offbeat + inspired

Summer Drink Makeovers With Flavor-Infused Simple Syrups [Peach-Basil Iced Tea] - offbeat + inspired

Peach-Basil Simple Syrup
Yields 1 cup syrup, strained

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
10-12 fresh basil leaves
1 peach, sliced
Additional basil leaves and peach slices to garnish beverage

Add sugar, water, basil and peach slices to a small saucepan. Turn heat to low and stir until sugar dissolves. Simmer an additional 5-7 minutes to reduce mixture. Remove from heat and let cool. If you prefer a smoother drink, strain out the fruit and basil.

Iced Tea Base Recipe
Yields about 8 cups

8 cups water
8 tea bags (I use a basic black tea)

In a medium pot, bring 8 cups of water to a boil. Once the water boils, add the tea bags and remove from heat. Let the tea steep for 4 minutes. Remove tea bags and let the brewed tea cool. Once the tea is cooled, add the simple syrup to taste. Mix thoroughly. Transfer to a serving pitcher and add ice.

Summer Drink Makeovers With Flavor-Infused Simple Syrups [Honey-Rosemary Sparkling Water] - offbeat + inspired

Summer Drink Makeovers With Flavor-Infused Simple Syrups [Honey-Rosemary Sparkling Water] - offbeat + inspired

Honey-Rosemary Simple Syrup
Yields 1 cup syrup, strained

½ cup sugar
½ cup water
½ cup honey
3-4 large sprigs of rosemary
Additional rosemary to garnish beverage

Add sugar, water, honey and rosemany to a small saucepan. Turn heat to low and stir until sugar dissolves. Simmer an additional 5-7 minutes to reduce mixture. Remove from heat and let cool. If you prefer a smoother drink, strain out the rosemary.

Quick Tip: Add a touch of this syrup to sparkling water for a sweet, refreshing spritzer. 

Summer Drink Makeovers With Flavor-Infused Simple Syrups [Honey-Rosemary Sparkling Water] - offbeat + inspired

Using the recipes in this post, I created Strawberry-Thyme Lemonade, Peach-Basil Iced Tea and Honey-Rosemary Spritzers. Just add your desired amount of infused simple syrup to tart lemonade, iced tea or sparkling water for a refreshing summer beverage that will help keep you cool. To make the adult version of these drinks, simply add a splash of rum, bourbon, vodka or your favorite liquor.

Create whichever combinations you prefer, like Peach-Basil Lemonade — or swap out ingredients to create your own sweetener. Blackberry-lemon is my next simple syrup to try! Pair one of these drinks with a light, refreshing dish like Citrus-Herb Orzo Salad or Quinoa Pilaf.

Each syrup will keep for about 3 weeks in the refrigerator. For a printable document with all of the recipes in this post, click here!

What flavors would you use to give your favorite drinks a summer makeover?

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  1. Love the strawberry and thyme combination. Had always made jam that way but this is so refreshing! I’m so glad I found this blog! Thank you Tiff for liking my Instagram feed. You girls have an amazing website!

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