Once a ubiquitous ingredient and necessary component of any serious cocktail bar, raspberry syrup appears over and over in some of the most influential historic cocktail books. It's a flavorful and easy syrup to make at home in less than thirty minutes. Keeping a bottle in your fridge opens up a world of beverage possibilities, including the classic Clover Club (once among the most famous cocktails in the country) and Hugo Ensslin’s Applejack Fix (a drink that never achieved the same status in popular culture, but maybe should have). Raspberry syrup is great with mezcal, but it's also terrific for soda fountain-style treats and nonalcoholic quenchers like our favorite pitcher of raspberry lemonade.
If you’re feeling experimental, raspberry syrup can be subbed for nearly any syrup in any drink with a little mindfulness of sugar content: The recipe we prefer is a rich syrup, meaning two parts sugar to one part water, so when replacing a traditional simple (one-to-one) syrup, you’ll need only half the amount.
When making raspberry syrup, it's best to cook at around 160 degrees for the duration of seven minutes. Raspberries have a fair amount of pectin, and as heat increases, more bonds will form, increasing viscosity until the setting point of 220 degrees when you’ve accidentally made raspberry jam instead—still delicious but not ideal for a cocktail. You can opt to add a few drops (.2% of total volume) of Pectinex SP-L enzyme after the five minutes of cooling to keep your syrup pouring quick.
If fresh, in-season raspberries aren’t available, you can substitute frozen berries—just add two minutes to the cook time.
About 2¼ cups
Blend 1½ cups raspberries with 1 cup water in a blender until puréed, about 45 seconds.
Add purée to a small saucepan over medium heat and cook until mixture begins to boil. Immediately reduce heat to low and continue to cook, stirring frequently, for 7 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Rinse out blender jar.
Strain purée through a tea strainer or chinois (cheesecloth optional) into a heatsafe liquid measuring cup, stirring and pressing on solids, until you have 1 cup raspberry juice. Discard any excess. Transfer raspberry juice to blender, add 2 cups granulated sugar, and blend until well mixed and sugar is completely dissolved, about 1½ minutes.
Transfer mixture to a clean, resealable glass jar and refrigerate until chilled. Shake jar before using. Raspberry syrup will keep 2 weeks in the refrigerator—or you can freeze it for several months.
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I made this syrup more simply than in the recipe. Using frozen berries, place all ingredients in a saucepan, and bring to a simmer. While berries are simmering, mash them with a wooden spoon or a small mashing utensil. When mixture reaches desired thickness remove from the heat, and pour through a fine sieve. Press down on solids with a wooden spoon. The syrup will drain through, and there you have it — raspberry syrup!
Santa Fe, NM