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Vanilla Simple Syrup Hostess Gift

I don’t know about you, but I often find myself visiting friends or neighbours’ homes and wishing that I had something a little more interesting than wine to offer as a hostess gift. Don’t get me wrong – wine is a wonderful gift. But it’s sometimes nice to show up with something a little different.  And who doesn’t love receiving something sweet (and oh so pretty)?

Although it’s great in cocktails, over ice cream, and with summer berries, vanilla-infused simple syrup also pairs nicely with hot cocoa, coffee and pancakes so this is also a lovely gift leading into Fall and the holidays beyond. Just change up your labels to something festive and you’re set!

By: Ryan Lockhart

You don't need much to make this lovely gift

You don’t need much to make this lovely gift

Materials:

Simple syrup ingredients (for one cup of finished syrup):

  • 1 cup – white granulated sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean or 1 tbs pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup – water

Other items:

  • Sharp kitchen knife
  • Pot & wooden spoon
  • Measuring cup
  • Funnel
  • Pretty glass jars (1 cup or less as a little syrup goes a long way)
  • Labels – I used cork stickers that I found at Dollarama ($1.25)
  • Tags – I used unbleached cotton tags that I found at Michael’s ($7)
  • String or twine
  • Permanent marker

Time: This was a super-fast project – I would say 30-45 minutes tops.

Step 1: As jars come in all shapes and sizes, I determined the volume of mine first so I would know how much syrup to make. The recipe I have provided is for one cup of syrup so just multiply based on how many jars you wish to fill.

Step 2: Boil water and sterilize your glass jars. The recipe I used said the syrup would only last about a week (although I don’t really believe it!). As such, I didn’t worry too much about this step – I washed each jar and boiled it for about 5 minutes.

Step 3: If you are using vanilla beans, take your knife and slice each pod along its full length. Using the back of your knife, scrape out all the seeds inside the pod and scrape them into your pot. Add water and sugar and stir. Throw in the leftover pods for additional flavour.

Step 4: Over medium-high heat, bring the mixture to a boil. I let it simmer slowly for about 10 minutes to thicken and infuse. If you’re using vanilla extract, boil your syrup until it thickens slightly (about 3 mins), remove from the heat and let it cool before stirring in your extract.

Step 5: You can discard the vanilla beans but I think they look gorgeous so added one to each jar before filling each with syrup. Allow each bottle to cool.

I wasn't sure how the marker would react to the cork so I practiced a few designs before sticking them to my jars.

I wasn’t sure how the marker would react to the cork so I practiced a few designs before sticking them to my jars.

You can tailor the tag to your guests or leave them out altogether if you don't have any onhand

You can tailor the tag to your guests or leave them out altogether if you don’t have any on hand

Step 6: Decorate! I loved the colour and texture of the cork sticker labels and played around with different designs. Once the jars were cool, I stuck on my favourites. I wrote little messages on the fabric tags using a permanent marker and then tied them on using kitchen twine.

Use different labels and tags to tailor your sweet gifts to any occasion

Use different labels and tags to tailor your sweet gifts to any occasion

Step 7: Give them away! My friends loved the pretty rustic look of my sweet gifts and I think receiving something homemade is extra special. Shhh…don’t tell them how easy it was.

Simple syrup can be used in almost anything and you can also swap out the vanilla for another flavour such as lavender, mint or ginger. And since it’s super easy to make, why not keep a few glass jars on hand so you can whip up a batch as needed? Happy visiting!

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