I first started making simple syrups in baking and pastry school to glaze baked goods. Since then, I’ve spent over a decade making simple syrups at home and crafting homemade beverages with them. This Sage Simple Syrup recipe is an inventive way to incorporate the bright and bold herbal flavor of fresh sage into all your drinks, hot or cold! While sage is typically paired with savory foods, it’s also a great match with sweet flavors, which is why this easy homemade syrup works so well!
This sage-infused simple syrup is inspired by other simple syrups made with fresh herbs, like this rosemary simple syrup. Infusing herbs in a sugary syrup is a great way to add layers of flavor to all your home crafted beverages. Whether you are looking to enjoy a sage flavored cocktail at happy hour or you want to indulge in an alcohol-free herbal mocktail, this syrup adds the perfect burst of flavor!Jump to Recipe
💕 why you'll love this sage simple syrup recipe
🌿 herbaceous & flavorful. Sage is a big bold flavor, like rosemary, and it can overpower other flavors it comes in contact with. Infusing it into a syrup is a great way to gently add the flavor of sage to any beverage hot or cold!
🤯 surprising & inventive. When people think of herbs and drinks, sage isn’t exactly the first flavor to come to mind. This syrup is an inventive way to wow your friends and family!
⏱️ quick & easy. Simple syrups are fast and easy to make, even if you’re not super confident in the kitchen! They’re also a great way to cook with younger chefs in the kitchen, because they enable you to be super creative when using them!
- fresh sage - you’ll need at least 10 fresh sage leaves for this recipe. Whole sage leaves will impart the best flavor, do not use dried sage to make this recipe. Not only is dried sage less potent in flavor, but it lacks the bright fresh flavor we’re after in this infused syrup recipe and can even be bitter in abundance. You can usually find fresh sage in the produce section of your local grocery store. It’s sold in plastic clamshell packaging near the lettuce!
- granulated sugar - regular white sugar has a straightforward sweet flavor profile without any caramelized undertones that can come with less processed sugars or darker sugars. This makes it ideal for using in infused simple syrups like this herb-flavored syrup.
- filtered water - filtered water is a necessary ingredient for any simple syrup. Make sure to use filtered water so you get the more pure taste without any added minerals or impurities. This ensures that the sage flavor is front and center in this syrup recipe.
See the recipe card for quantities.
Step 1: Pour 240 g of water into a small saucepan and heat it over medium heat.
Step 2: Add 200 g of granulated sugar to the pan, and stir it until it dissolves, about 5 minutes.
Step 3: Once the sugar is dissolved, raise the heat a bit until the pot is lightly simmering.
Step 4: Add the 10 - 12 sage leaves and turn the heat off. Allow the leaves to infuse for at least 15 minutes, but up to 30 minutes.
Step 5: Once the sage has infused and the syrup has cooled to room temperature, strain the syrup in a fine mesh sieve to remove the leaves.
Step 6: Store your finished syrup in an airtight storage container in the fridge for up to two weeks.
Hint: Be sure to taste your simple syrup as it is infusing to determine if the flavor is strong enough for your liking.
💡tips and tricks for getting it right
🍽️ serving tips
How and when to serve your sage simple syrup:
No matter what other bloggers tell you on the internet, simple syrups are best used in beverages because of their thin consistency. Sure, you can use them to top desserts or your morning pancakes, but it’s not the ideal use for homemade syrups. The truth is, because these syrups are so thin, they’ll quickly absorb into any porous foods (like pancakes) so you’ll need a lot of syrup to cover your food. Instead, check out the ways you can use this sage syrup below!
One of the easiest ways to use homemade simple syrups is in cocktails. Sage simple syrup pairs well with gin, vodka, bourbon, and tequila-based drinks. Add up to an ounce to your favorite cocktails to give them a rich herbal twist!
- sage gimlet - sage and gin blend together well, especially in a cocktail shaker! 😛 This classic cocktail takes on a sage twist that’s sure to impress.
- citrus sage spritz - add this herbal simple syrup to a glass with fresh lemon juice and your favorite vodka, then top with a pour of prosecco.
- blackberry sage smash - muddle a few fresh blackberries with this sage syrup and bourbon and then strain into a rocks glass. Want an even more special tough? Serve it over a large herb ice cube that has a sage leaf or two frozen inside!
mocktails and beverages
This syrup also works well in any non-alcoholic drink! Try it in homemade lemonade for an herbal variation on a classic beverage or try one of these ideas below!
- sage water - adding a splash of sage simple syrup to your glass of water for a subtle sweetness and touch of sage flavor. Staying hydrated has never been so tasty!
- sage soda - Mix sage simple syrup with carbonated water or soda to make homemade sodas or spritzers. It's a great alternative to store-bought flavored drinks.
- lemonade or iced tea - add this simple syrup to your favorite glass of iced tea or use it in a lemonade recipe instead of sugar. It’ll add a delicious dose of sage flavor!
in cooking and baking
- keep cakes moist - the best culinary use for simple syrups is glazing! Use this syrup to keep your cakes moist, including layer cakes. Brush this syrup between layers of cake before frosting to impart a subtle sage flavor. It would be especially good on olive oil cake or pound cake!
ℹ️ troubleshooting tips
Even though it is easy to make infused simple syrups, things can go wrong. Try these troubleshooting tips if your sage syrup doesn’t come out quite right.
- flavor is too strong - sage is a particularly strong flavor that borders on peppery or eucalyptus-like. If the flavor is too strong, try adding some lemon juice to balance it out. Alternatively, you can add double the amount of sugar and water to mellow out the flavor.
- weak flavor - if the flavor is not strong enough for your taste buds, you can add more sage leaves or allow the sage to steep for longer.
- too thick - if your syrup is too thick, you can thin it out by adding a bit more water, 2 tablespoon at a time until it reaches the consistency you like.
⚖️ scaling tips
You can make a big batch of this syrup by doubling or tripling it. It makes a wonderful gift or party favor for holidays! When gifting simple syrup, I love to portion it out in these glass bottles from Bormioli Rocco with a cute little gift tag to personalize.
🔆 top tip
Taste your simple syrup several times during the infusion process to get an idea of the intensity of the flavor you like. If it’s too weak, you can infuse it for longer. If it’s too strong, you can add in more sugar and water to dilute the flavor.
♻️ substitutions & variations
Missing an ingredient? No problem. Check out these tried-and-true substitutions, or comment below with your question. I’m here to help you troubleshoot!
- honey or maple syrup - honey is also useful for making simple syrups! The type of honey you use will impact the flavor, because honey tends to have a stronger, more distinct taste than granulated sugar. It’s also a bit sweeter than granulated sugar, so be sure to reduce the amount of honey by at least ⅛th to ¼. You can also use maple syrup if you only have that!
- different sugar - you can use another, less refined or darker sugar to make this syrup, like brown sugar or demerara sugar. Darker, less refined sugars will give this syrup a deeper more caramelized flavor.
Feeling like a rebel?! 😈 Feel free to stray from the recipe card using these variations, or leave me a comment with your own!
- citrus sage - orange and sage are two flavors that go well together. Add in the juice and zest of one medium orange to this syrup to give it a citrus twist!
- rosemary sage - rosemary and sage are two herbs that complement each other well
- berry sage syrup - throw in a handful of fresh berries as the mix steeps, such as blueberries or blackberries! This will give you a subtle herb and fruit syrup flavor that’s sure to become a favorite!
🧰 equipment needed & storage tips
🧰 tools needed
- 1.5 quart saucepan - you can use whatever saucepan you have on hand, I love this 1.5-quart saucepan from All-Clad. The heavy bottom ensures even heating throughout the cooking time!
- non-reactive mesh strainer - a fine mesh strainer helps you to remove the sage leaves from the liquid after simmering the mixture. If you’re adding lemon juice, make sure to use a non-reactive metal, like stainless steel or enameled cast iron.
- kitchen scale - using a kitchen scale has so many benefits, from being more precise to helping you do less dishes! If you use a scale, you can simply put everything right in the pot as you measure it, no need to dirty up a bunch of extra dishes! I have and love this OXO kitchen scale.
- measuring cups - if you don’t have a kitchen scale, you’ll likely need some measuring cups. I love using these glass measuring cups from Anchor Hocking because they can tolerate the quick temperature changes that happen when I’m making simple syrups. I also love this set of measuring cups from King Arthur Baking because they are sturdy, nest well, and include any size you’ll ever need!
- airtight storage container - you can use any storage container you like, as long as its airtight. These OXO squeeze bottles are a favorite of mine for storing simple syrups because you can also stash them in the freezer. These glass bottles are great for gifting simple syrups to friends and family. You can also use a mason jar!
how to store homemade simple syrups
Store your finished syrup in an airtight container for up to two weeks in the fridge. You can also freeze your syrup for longer term storage.
What does sage taste like?
Sage is a bright, bold herb that is slightly sweet with notes of citrus, pine, and eucalyptus.
How can I use this sage simple syurp?
You can use this simple syrup infusion to create a sage cocktail, mocktail, or other beverage. You can also use it to brush layer cakes to keep them moist, or to glas fresh fruit for a touch of herbal sweetness.
How long do home infused syrups last?
Most homemade simple syrups will keep for up to two weeks when refrigerated or up to three months when frozen.
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Sage Simple Syrup
- 1 heat-resistant spatula such as silicone
- 1 heat-resistent measuring glass
- 10 whole sage leaves fresh
- 240 grams water
- 200 grams granulated sugar
- Wash and gently dry fresh sage leaves to remove any dirt or impurities.
- Pour 240 g of water (1 cup) into a small saucepan and heat it over medium-low heat.
- Add 200 g of granulated sugar (1 cup) to the pan, and stir it until it dissolves, about 5 minutes.
- Once the sugar is dissolved, raise the heat to medium until the pot is lightly simmering.
- Add the 10 - 12 sage leaves, turn the heat off and allow the pan to sit for 1 full minute.
- Allow the leaves to infuse for at least 15 minutes, but up to 30 minutes off of the burner. Be sure to taste your simple syrup as it is infusing to determine if the flavor is strong enough for your liking.
- Once the sage has infused and the syrup has cooled to room temperature, strain the syrup in a fine mesh sieve to remove the leaves.
- Store your finished syrup in an airtight storage container in the fridge for up to two weeks.
🧯food safety & other information
Food safety is an important ingredient in any recipe for success! Here are some tips to keep you safe in the kitchen!
- While you can allow this syrup to sit at room temperature, don’t leave it out for longer than 4 hours at a time. This helps to inhibit bacteria growth that can happen from the sugars in the syrup. Read more about the temperature danger zone here.
- Use sterilized containers whenever possible. You can sterilize your containers by boiling them briefly, running them through your dishwasher with the sterilize feature activated, or pouring boiling water into the containers.
- While you may be able to use your simple syrup longer than 2 weeks in the fridge, if you see any sort of cloudiness or dark spots in the syrup, throw it out. This is mold growth and is not a recipe for fun.
- Never leave simmering syrup unattended on the stove.
- If you use honey to make this syrup, avoid feeding it to children under the age of 1.