Because it is difficult to dissolve sugar in cold liquid, bartenders use a sugar solution called simple syrup. It is easy to prepare and keeps 2 months or longer in the refrigerator.
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the water to a simmer. Add the sugar and stir until it completely dissolves. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool to room temperature. Pour the syrup into a clean 1-pint bottle, cap it and refrigerate until ready to use.
Makes 1 1/2 cups.
This handy mixture can replace the fresh-citrus-juice-plus-simple-syrup combination many recipes call for. Simply substitute an equivalent measure of this mix, which keeps in the refrigerator for about 10 days. Note that substituting this mix will alter the flavor of recipes calling solely for lemon juice or lime juice, since the mix contains both.
3 fl. oz. fresh lime juice
3 fl. oz. fresh lemon juice
2 fl. oz. simple syrup
Pour the lime juice, lemon juice and simple syrup into a clean, resealable 12-fl.-oz. bottle. Shake well, seal and refrigerate. Makes 1 cup.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Guides, The Bar Guide, by Ray Foley (Time-Life Books, 1999).