Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan. Turn off the heat. Add the sugar and stir until completely dissolved. Refrigerate and chill completely before using. If you are flavoring the syrup, let the mixture infuse for 24 hours before straining and using.
- Coffee or tea: Substitute strongly brewed coffee or tea for the water.
- Ginger: Add 6 (or more!) inches ginger, peeled and sliced into coins, with the sugar.
- Herbal: Add a big handful of fresh basil or mint leaves or 3 sprigs fresh rosemary with the sugar. (If you’re using basil or mint, infuse for 30 minutes, then strain and chill.)
- Citrus: Add the peels from 1 lemon, 1 lime, 1 small orange, or 1/2 grapefruit with the sugar.
Emma is the food editor at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles on the fly, baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., and writing about the history of pie in North Carolina. Now she lives in New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's award-winning column, Big Little Recipes (also the cookbook in November 2021!). And see what she's up to on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.