Demerara syrup (rich simple syrup) is a common ingredient in cocktails and other recipes, but it isn’t easy to find. Thankfully it’s easy to make in about 2 minutes. 

A small jar of homemade demerara syrup is poured into an old fashioned cocktail on a white kitchen counter.

While Lavender Simple Syrup is lovely for lighter recipes like lattes and lemonade, sometimes recipes call for rich simple syrup. 

If you’ve stumbled upon a cocktail recipe that calls for rich simple syrup or demerara syrup and aren’t sure where to get it or how to make it, here’s the easy recipe.

All you need is demerara sugar and about 2 minutes and you’ll have the most delicious caramel flavored rich simple syrup! 

A package of demerara sugar with large golden colored sugar crystals sits on a marble surface.

What is Demerara Sugar? 

Named after the Demerara region of Guyana, in South America, demerara is a type of sugar that resembles turbinado. It is made from sugar cane but unlike granulated white sugar, it’s a larger sugar crystal that’s light amber in color. Today most comes from Maritius. 

Retaining some molasses after processing, demerara sugar has a rich and delicious flavor reminiscent of maple, caramel, toffee, and molasses. 

This specialty sugar can be difficult to find and is more expensive than granulated sugar. You can find it at Whole Foods and other gourmet shops. 

What is Demerara Syrup? 

Demarara syrup is a rich simple syrup made with demerara sugar. It’s a common ingredient in dark cocktail recipes such as the Old Fashioned or this Rum Manhattan-Style. It would be wonderful to sweeten up any of our Fall Cocktails

The rich simple syrup is made by melting 2 parts sugar with one part water. Though you can find it bottled in some cocktail sections of gourmet grocery stores, it takes just two minutes to make at home. Simple syrups like this one blend smoothly in with other ingredients without leaving any gritty sugar behind. 

Demerara sugar and syrup first became popular in the U.K., which is why more recipes there call for the ingredient. This is a beautiful sweetener to keep around for cocktails and more. 


If you don’t have demerara sugar on hand to make your own demerara syrup, you have a few other options. What you want is a rich simple syrup that mixes easily with other ingredients. 

  1. Maple Syrup 
  2. Make Molasses Simple Syrup. Use the recipe below but use white sugar plus about 1 teaspoon molasses. 
  3. Substitute turbinado or light brown sugar

How to Use

When sprinkled on top of muffins, quick bread, pies, or cookies demerara sugar adds a wonderful crunch. The syrup is most often used in cocktails but can be used in place of maple syrup and other sweeteners.

Be sure to use this dark simple syrup in recipes that work flavor-wise. It compliments flavors like vanilla, cinnamon, maple, and apple. While it’s perfect for an Old Fashioned, a lighter sweetener such as agave or white simple syrup would be better for margaritas and lemon drop martinis. 

  1. Cocktails. Demerara syrup is most often used in cocktails, particularly those that are whiskey-based. 
  2. Finishing. Use demerara syrup anywhere you’d use maple syrup. A drizzle on your oatmeal or coffee to add rich sweetness. 

A small jar of demerara syrup recipe sits on a white marble countertop in front of a bourbon whiskey cocktail.

Yield: about 1/3 cup

Demerara Syrup

Prep Time 1 minute
Cook Time 2 minutes
Total Time 3 minutes

Demerara syrup is a rich simple syrup commonly used in cocktail recipes. It's quick and easy to make at home.

A small jar of homemade Demerara syrup is poured into an old fashioned bourbon cocktail.


  • 1/2 cup demerara sugar
  • 1/4 cup water


  1. Pour the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Demerara sugar and water in a small saucepan.
  2. Place over high heat and bring to a simmer. Stir until the sugar is melted, one to two minutes. Demerara syrup simmers in a small copper saucepan on the stove.
  3. Remove the saucepan from the stove and cool. Pour the demerara syrup into a small glass jar and let cool completely. A small jar of homemade demerara syrup on a white countertop with an old fashioned cocktail in the background.


Demerara syrup lasts in the refrigerator for about a month.

For a less expensive and lighter-colored rich syrup, feel free to use a combination of granulated and demerara sugars.

For a thinner syrup, use a 1:1 ratio of water and sugar.

This recipe is easy to increase or decrease. Use 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water if you're making cocktails for a crowd or would like to keep more around.

If you can't find demerara syrup, you can use turbinado sugar or light brown sugar.

Make a DIY cocktail gift basket with a bottle of homemade demerara syrup, a bottle of Bourbon and a few oranges.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 15 Serving Size: 1 teaspoon
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 26Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 0mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 0gSugar: 7gProtein: 0g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your favorite calculator.