This simple Earl Grey syrup recipe is made in a traditional way by boiling sugar and infusing the sugar with earl grey tea with a hint of lemon.
Perfect syrup for making iced tea, bubble tea, cocktails, mocktails or used as a flavour sauce for puddings, pancakes or other desserts.
This Earl Grey sugar syrup recipe is perfect for beginners. It will take only about 30 minutes to make (in total, including 20 minutes of infusing time) and you’ll end up with a one jam jar of amazingly flavoured sugar syrup.
Why make this recipe?
- Simple & easy sugar syrup to make
- Great syrup for cocktails, mocktails, iced tea, puddings, desserts, ice-creams, pancakes etc.
- Perfect homemade gift for your friends and family
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What is the Earl Grey Syrup going to taste like?
In case you are not too sure, Earl Grey is a tea infused with bergamot, which is very similar flavour and smell to what you get when you crush certain types of geranium plants. It has a kind of lemony, earthy taste.
The syrup will be full of flavour (it can be used as it is, or diluted with extra lemon or other flavours if you like) – the perfect blend of bergamot, tea, lemon and sugar. The pinch of salt will prevent the sugar tasting too bland and will make all the flavours beautifully work together (and make them slightly sharper too).
My top tips on making Earl Grey syrup recipe successfully first time round
Let the sugar dissolve properly before you start to boil the mixture. Check with a back of a spoon if you can see any sugar crystals. If not, you are ready to start boiling the sugar.
Don’t stir too much once you start to boil the syrup as this will re-form the sugar crystals and makes them only stronger (e.g. you get a gritty syrup)
Add salt to your taste! Sugar is very bland ingredient and it does need salt to bring out the flavour
Don’t leave the syrup to boil for too long otherwise you might end up with a slightly bitter flavoured sugar as the Earl Grey tea might go bitter if boiled and left in for too long
My favourite pro tip
Use Earl Grey loose tea for extra rich and bold flavour
What makes this Earl Grey sugar syrup recipe work?
Without a doubt, it’s the pinch of salt, which sharpens the flavour and also the fresh lemon juice, which compliments the Earl Grey tea flavour beautifully.
What to watch out for when making this recipe
Be careful about leaving the saucepan on it’s own – you do need to watch the sugar mixture as it can easily over bubble and you might end up with sticky sugar all over your cooker.
If you see that the bubbles are coming to the top of your saucepan, either gently stir the top of the bubbles (to sort of break them), blow at the bubbles to burst them or (and….) take the pot off the heat immediately.
Also, don’t let the sugar start caramelising (going brown) when you start boiling the mixture. This will make the sugar taste caramelised and it is irreversible!
Any specialist equipment needed?
You will only need a few pieces of kitchen equipment, but nothing too specialist that you wouldn’t have already at home. Although we are working with sugar, there is no need for a thermometer in this recipe.
- Medium sided saucepan
- Measuring spoons or scales
- Wooden stirring spoon
- Jam jar & lid (or other suitable container)
Time saving tip
If you are thinking of making this simple Earl Grey sugar syrup as a present, double or triple the quantity to make more syrup at the same time.
Make sure you use large saucepan or a stock pot as the sugar has a tendency to bubble over, when being boiled.
Earl Grey syrup ingredients
Earl Grey tea
I seems to get the best flavour when I use leaf Earl Grey tea, as the tea leaves can move freely and infuse the sugar mixture really well.
You can also use Earl Grey tea bags, but I’d recommend using 2-3 (or even 4) teabags instead of one large tablespoon of Earl Grey leaves. This is because the tea inside the tea bag is more of a powdered grit than whole leaves and you might need more to get the same intensity.
Other types of Earl Grey tea are also perfect with this recipe, such as Lady Grey (earl grey tea with lemon infusion) or smoked Earl Grey tea.
I’ve used granulated white sugar for this recipe – it’s easy to get hold of and the cheapest of all the different types of sugars.
Whilst you can use any kind of sugar with sugar syrups, the Earl Grey tea is such a delicate flavour, that you don’t really want to use light or brown sugars. Darker sugars have much richer flavour and will compete if not overpower the Earl Grey flavour.
Fresh Lemon Juice
You don’t have to use lemon juice if you want to make a really simple Earl Grey sugar syrup, but I think the fresh lemon complements the bergamot flavour of the Earl Grey superbly!
I like zesty flavours, so I add quite a lot of lemon (even more than what I’ve added in this recipe here), but that’s my personal preference and you certainly don’t have to add too much (if any) lemon if you don’t want to. The recipe will work without it too.
You might need anything up to 1/8 teaspoon, depending on your taste buds. The salt helps to sharpen the flavours of both the earl grey and the sugar, so it’s quite an important ingredient to add to your surup.
Other flavourings you might like to add
- Ground or fresh ginger – add a pinch of ground ginger (or infuse 1-2 slices) to add warmness to the sugar
- White pepper – add a pinch of finely ground white pepper to give the sugar syrup and bit of a warming after flavour
- Citric acid – add to achieve very lemony flavour or use instead of fresh lemon
How to make simple Earl Grey sugar syrup – Quick Instructions
Measure the sugar and it to a medium sized saucepan.
Add water, the Earl Grey tea leaves (or tea bags), lemon juice and a large pinch of salt and mix well with a wooden spoon.
Place on a very low heat and let the sugar slowly dissolve first.
Once the sugar is dissolved, increase the heat to medium/high and bring the syrup to boil.
Keep the syrup boiling for about 3 minutes. Stir if necessary to prevent the syrup from burning, but try to resist to stir constantly. Don’t let the sugar to start turning brown or to caramelise.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and leave it somewhere safe to cool down for about 20 minutes. This will further help to infuse the sugar syrup with the earl grey flavour.
Pour the syrup through a fine mesh sieve into another bowl.
Add more lemon or other flavourings of your choice and taste to check the flavour. If needed you can add more salt, but dissolve it completely in a tiny bit of water first before adding in.
Pour the earl grey syrup into a bottle, jar or a squeeze bottle and store in the fridge.
This Earl Grey sugar syrup recipe is:
- Dairy Free
The syrup is going to reduce a little, but it will still give you around 250 ml (1 cup ) of sugar syrup which will be enough for one medium sized jam jar.
The Earl Grey flavour will be quite concentrated, so you’ll only need about 1 tablespoon for 1 glass of drink if you are making iced tea or even less if you are making cocktails.
The one jam jar will give you about 16 tablespoons, so potentially 16 portions.
Scaling up or down this recipe
You can easily scale up this recipe, just double or triple the ingredients.
Scaling down this recipe is possible too, but be careful. You’ll be handling a much smaller amount of water and sugar, which can be quite easily burned.
Earl Grey syrup is perfect for
- Simply drizzle on any lemon or vanilla flavoured pudding, ice cream, or pancakes
- Mix it with hot or cold water to make instant Earl Grey Tea
- Use it for making bubble tea, cocktails, mocktails or other infused drinks
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Can the syrup be made in advance?
This Earl Grey syrup has a good shelf life, so making it up to 1 week in advance should be fine.
How to store your syrup
A glass or plastic squeeze bottle works great, but any clean jam jar or airtight container will be fine too. Although nothing much can go off in this sugar syrup, I tend to keep the syrup in the fridge, to be on the safe side.
I mainly use my sugar syrup to make cold drinks, so it makes sense to keep it in the fridge anyway as I don’t like to use ice cubes in my drinks and the syrup together with cold water is ‘cold’ enough.
There is very little that can go off in this old-fashioned version of simple Earl Grey syrup, so as long as you keep it in the fridge, you should be fine for 2-3 weeks minimum.
Questions & Answers
This is probably because the sugar wasn’t properly dissolved before you started to boil the mixture.
It can also be because you might have stirred the syrup too much whilst it was boiling. Using a spoon with leftover sugar could also be a problem, so make sure you use a clean one.
You can gently dissolve the sugar again by re-heating the syrup and adding extra water (1 tablespoon should be fine). If you are worried about the crystals re-forming again, add a tablespoon of glucose (corn syrup) to the mixture. Glucose or corn syrup (also honey) is a form of sugar, which helps to keep the sugar crystals apart.
Earl Grey Syrup – Simple tea infused sugar syrup
- fine sieve
- saucepan medium size
- jam jar
- wooden stirring spoon
- 125 grams white granulated sugar
- 125 grams water
- 1 tablespoon Earl Grey Tea loose or 2-3 Earl Grey teabags
- 1-2 tablespoon lemon juice from fresh lemon
- large pinch salt
- Measure the sugar and it to a medium sized saucepan.
- Add water, the Earl Grey tea leaves (or tea bags), lemon juice and a large pinch of salt and mix well with a wooden spoon.
- Place on a very low heat and let the sugar slowly dissolve first.
- Once the sugar is dissolved, increase the heat to medium/high and bring the syrup to boil.
- Keep the syrup boiling for about 3 minutes. Stir if necessary to prevent the syrup from burning, but try to resist to stir constantly. Don’t let the sugar to start turning brown or to caramelise.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and leave it somewhere safe to cool down for about 20 minutes. This will further help to infuse the sugar syrup with the earl grey flavour.
- Pour the syrup through a fine mesh sieve into another bowl.
- Add more lemon or other flavourings of your choice and taste to check the flavour. If needed you can add more salt, but dissolve it completely in a tiny bit of water first before adding in.
- Pour the earl grey syrup into a bottle, jar or a squeeze bottle and store in the fridge.
This blog post was originally written on 18 May 2022 and last updated on 24 October 2022