Sweet & Sour Mix

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About This Syrup

Sweet & Sour Mix, also called Sour Mix or Lemon Sour Mix, is a citrus-flavored sweetener that has been used in cocktails since the 1800s. Large bottles of its premixed ingredients can be found in stores, but I don’t recommend using those because just about all of them are made with reconstituted citrus juices or citrus peel oils, which have a very different flavor than fresh citrus juice.

Instead, I make ours at home to achieve the freshest flavors possible that are closer to what the cocktail’s creator intended. The process is very simple, much like that of homemade simple syrup or grenadine. Read on for instructions on how to make your own at home using a few common ingredients and tools!

Syrup Ingredients

To make this simple syrup, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Lemon Juice: This is a fruit juice that adds sweet citrus flavor. I used freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Lime Juice: This is a fruit juice that adds sour citrus flavor. I used freshly squeezed lime juice.

White Sugar: This is a sweetener. I used a generic white sugar from our local grocery store.

Water: This stretches out the citrus juices and turns the syrup into a liquid. I prefer to use filtered water to prevent contamination.

How to Make This Syrup

When making flavored syrups, I prefer to use the sous vide method, but simple sugar syrups that don’t need to infuse very long should be made on the stovetop because it only takes a minute or two to dissolve the sugar in the citrus juices and water.

To make this syrup, you’ll need the following tools:

Saucepan: This is what the syrup ingredients are placed inside to cook.

Silicone Spatula: This is used to stir the syrup. I use OXO Good Grips Silicone Spatulas because their flexibility allows them to stir and wipe the syrups out of the pan more thoroughly than spoons.

Fine Mesh Strainer: This is used to remove solid ingredients from the syrup during the transfer process. I use the Barfly Stainless Steel Fine Mesh Strainer because its tightly woven mesh is excellent for removing small seeds and pieces of fruit.

Funnel: This is used to transfer the syrup from the bag to the storage containers without making a mess. I prefer to use a small silicone funnel because that type is flexible and easy to store.

Squeeze Bottle: This is used to store the syrup in the refrigerator for immediate use. I prefer OXO Good Grips Squeeze Bottles because they are high quality.

Storage Pouch with Pouring Spout: This is used to store extra syrup in the freezer for later use.

How to Store This Syrup

Once the syrup is made, it will need to be kept cool to preserve its freshness. Whether it will be stored in the refrigerator or the freezer affects the type of container I use, and I make the decision on where to store it based on when I expect to use some or all of the syrup in cocktails.

Refrigerator Storage: I will usually store our syrups in the refrigerator when I plan to use them in a cocktail either right away or within a few days. If that’s the case, I will store some in a condiment squeeze bottle so I can easily pour the syrup into a jigger when I make the drink. It’s rare that I need all sixteen ounces right away though, so I often keep some in the refrigerator and will transfer the rest of the syrup to a pouch so it can be frozen and used later.

Freezer Storage: I will usually store our syrups in the freezer when I don’t think I will use them in a cocktail within a week. If that’s the case, I store them in pouches with pouring spouts because those are made with a flexible material that won’t come open as the syrup expands during the freezing process. I will then thaw the pouches in a bowl of water when I want to use the syrup again.

Simple syrup should last one to two weeks in the refrigerator and can last up to six months if frozen. I recommend listing the date the syrup was made before storing it so you can keep track of when batches should be used or discarded.

Recipe

This recipe yields approximately sixteen ounces of syrup, which is enough for anywhere from fifteen to thirty-five cocktails depending on the amount needed for the drink.

AuthorSips From ScriptsPrep Time15 minsRating

Ingredients
 150 ml Lemon Juice
 50 ml Lime Juice
 100 g White Sugar
 100 ml Water

Method
1

Add sugar and water to a saucepan.

2

Heat over medium high heat while stirring constantly.

3

Cook while stirring until sugar is fully dissolved.

4

Remove from heat immediately after sugar dissolves and before boiling begins.

5

Add lemon juice and lime juice to pan.

6

Stir for 5-7 seconds.

7

Cover and let cool for 5-10 minutes.

8

Strain syrup through a fine mesh filter 1-2 times and transfer to container.

Ingredients

Ingredients
 150 ml Lemon Juice
 50 ml Lime Juice
 100 g White Sugar
 100 ml Water

Directions

Method
1

Add sugar and water to a saucepan.

2

Heat over medium high heat while stirring constantly.

3

Cook while stirring until sugar is fully dissolved.

4

Remove from heat immediately after sugar dissolves and before boiling begins.

5

Add lemon juice and lime juice to pan.

6

Stir for 5-7 seconds.

7

Cover and let cool for 5-10 minutes.

8

Strain syrup through a fine mesh filter 1-2 times and transfer to container.

Sweet & Sour Mix

Tools We Recommend

Cuisinart SPB-7CH SmartPower 40-Ounce 7-Speed Electronic Bar Blender, Chrome
Cuisinart SPB-7CH SmartPower 40-Ounce 7-Speed Electronic Bar Blender, Chrome
Perfect for blending, pureeing, mixing, liquefying and stirring; 7-speed touch pad control with easy-to-read indicator lights
$67.64
OXO Good Grips 3-Piece Silicone Utensil Set
OXO Good Grips 3-Piece Silicone Utensil Set
Flexible edges get every last drop from pans and bowls; Ladle designed for easy scooping and serving
$29.95
OXO Good Grips Chef’s Squeeze Bottle Set
OXO Good Grips Chef’s Squeeze Bottle Set
Set consists of medium bottle and large bottle with one thick tip and one thin tip; Unique attached cap stays open while you squeeze for a precise pour
$11.95

More Syrup Recipes

If you like this syrup, here are a few others we make and use in our cocktails that you may enjoy:

Cranberry Syrup Recipe for Cocktails

Cranberry Syrup: A sous vide syrup made with fresh cranberries, cane sugar, citric acid, and water

Gingerbread Syrup Recipe for Cocktails

Gingerbread Syrup: A sous vide syrup made with gingerbread spice, honey, vanilla extract, white sugar, brown sugar, gum Arabic powder, and water

Blueberry Syrup Recipe for Cocktails

Blueberry Syrup: A sous vide syrup made with fresh blueberries, white sugar, gum Arabic powder, citric acid, and water

Apple Cinnamon Syrup Recipe for Cocktails

Apple Cinnamon Syrup: A sous vide syrup made with apple cider, cinnamon sticks, and white sugar

This post contains affiliate links, meaning we make a small commission each time you purchase a product using our links. Product images sourced from Amazon Product Advertising API. Amazon affiliate links last updated on 2022-11-30.

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