This Candy Cane Syrup allows you to transform almost any food or drink into a festive holiday treat! It makes delicious cocktails and soda and is so fun to drizzle over ice cream, in coffee, and so much more.
Candy canes are one of the most quintessential, but I think also most underrated of the Christmas candies. They're simple, classic, and packed with festive flavor, but so often ignored.
Especially in today's current times where you can get candy canes flavored of everything from sour patch kids to mac and cheese. Seriously. Can't the regular old red and white striped peppermint candy canes get a little love? Does anyone even buy them anymore??
I do! And I should note that for the purposes of today's syrup recipe, we're not talking about any candy canes; we're talking about the traditional peppermint flavored candy canes.
By all means, make a syrup with mac and cheese candy canes, but keep it far, far away from me (though you know I'd try pretty much anything and I am oddly intrigued by this).
In any event, this candy cane simple syrup is one you'll want to keep in your fridge all season long!
What is Simple Syrup?
Simple syrup is essentially sugar and water simmered together until the sugar is dissolved and a sweet syrup is formed.
They have lots of uses, but one of the biggest uses for simple syrup is as a cocktail ingredient. They're great for adding sweetness to a drink as they blend right into liquids.
Plus, you can flavor them with pretty much anything you want, which also makes them an easy way to add all kinds of different flavors to a drink.
In this recipe, I flavored my syrup with candy canes for a yummy holiday peppermint syrup.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
If you love peppermint during the holiday season, you'll definitely want to make this simple syrup! Once made, you'll have a quick and easy way to add peppermint flavor to everything you eat and drink all season long.
The candy cane syrup is incredibly easy to make and it's the most gorgeous color of reddish pink!
If you put it in a mason jar with a pretty ribbon or bow, it also makes a fun holiday gift. Pair it with a bottle of vodka and some fun cocktail glasses for an extra special present.
You only need 3 ingredients to make this syrup and I bet you can guess what they are:
- Granulated Sugar
- Candy Canes
It doesn't get any simpler than that!
How to Make Candy Cane Syrup
Making the syrup is also incredibly easy.
Just break 4 regular-sized candy canes into pieces and add them into a saucepan with the water and sugar.
Bring the mixture to a boil and once boiling, lower the heat and let simmer for about 10 minutes, until the candy canes have completely dissolved and mixture has thickened a bit.
As the candy canes dissolve, the mixture will turn the prettiest shade of pink/red.
Pour the candy cane syrup into a mason jar or bowl and place it in the fridge to cool completely before using. The syrup will continue to thicken as it cools.
Doesn't it look so festive and fun?
And even better, it tastes JUST like candy canes in liquid form and will instantly get you in the holiday spirit.
How to Use
There are so many ways you can use this candy cane syrup! Here are some of my favorites:
- Cocktail Mixers: You can add candy cane syrup to nearly any cocktail to instantly turn it into a holiday cocktail. I happen to think it matches best with vodka and I've been enjoying a lot of candy cane vodka sodas this season. It's an especially great cocktail ingredient because you can control how much you use to control the intensity of the peppermint flavor (I know lots of people enjoy peppermint flavor, but dislike when it's too strong).
- Homemade Soda: Treat your kids to candy candy cane soda by simply mixing some of this syrup into soda water. It's yummy (adults will enjoy it, too!) and makes it easy for you to control how much sugar they're getting in their soda.
- Ice Cream Topping: One of my favorite seasonal ice creams is peppermint and this candy cane syrup makes it easy to turn any flavor ice cream into a holiday treat! I like drizzling it over vanilla best, but it's also tasty over chocolate ice cream.
- Coffee or Tea Mix-In: Stir a little of this syrup into your coffee or tea and you have an instant peppermint treat! You can even use it to make peppermint lattes.
- Pancake, Waffle, and French Toast Topping: Candy cane syrup makes a great replacement for maple syrup over the holidays. For extra fun, top your breakfasts with crushed candy canes, too.
- Oatmeal or Yogurt Topping: Add some holiday flavor and extra sweetness to your healthy breakfasts.
- Cake Moistener: Lots of bakers brush their baked cakes with simple syrup to add moistness and some sweetness. Brush a vanilla or chocolate cake with this candy cane syrup and your cake will be ready for the holidays with just a hint of peppermint flavor!
- Baking Ingredient: Use this syrup in various holiday baking recipes to add a touch of peppermint to everything you do!
- Cocktail Rimmer: Brush a little bit of this syrup around the rim of your cocktail glass to adhere sugar or crushed candy canes for fun seasonal drinks.
How to Store
I highly recommend storing your candy cane syrup in an airtight container in your fridge. It should keep for about a month when stored properly.
I love storing my syrup in jars (and I usually have at least 6 kinds of simple syrup jars in my fridge at all times!) and I highly recommend these 16 oz. mason jars or the 8 oz. mason jars you see in my photos (though note this recipe makes slightly more than a cup of syrup).
For easy pouring into cocktails and drinks of all kinds, I love the idea of mason jar lids with spouts.
What If My Syrup is Too Strong?
If you're not a fan of too much peppermint and think this syrup has too much minty flavor packed into it, you can use fewer candy canes to reduce the strength a bit. I recommend using 2 instead of 4.
However, you can also just use less of the syrup in whatever you're adding it to. Experiment a bit to see how this syrup works best for you!
Can I Use Other Flavors of Candy Canes?
Of course you can! You can even use mac and cheese candy canes if you're so inclined.
But at that point, your syrup is going to simply taste like whatever the candy cane flavor you use is. If you use Sweet Tart candy canes, your syrup will taste like Sweet Tarts. If you use Nerds candy canes, your syrup will taste like Nerds. You get the point.
That's not necessarily a bad thing; I just wouldn't call it candy cane syrup anymore.
Where to Buy
This recipe is so incredibly easy to make at home, but if you'd rather purchase it, there are lots of options for store-bought candy cane syrup. Here are a few:
- El Guapo Bitters Candy Cane Syrup
- Monin Peppermint Syrup
- Joe's Candy Cane Mint Syrup
- Amoretti Peppermint Syrup
- Jordan's Skinny Peppermint Bark Syrup
More Peppermint Recipes
If you love peppermint desserts during the holidays, I have lots of yummy treats made with candy canes and peppermint extract. Here are some of my favorites:
- Chocolate Peppermint Sour Cream Crinkle Cookies
- Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes
- Candy Cane Cookie Dough Bars
- Cornflake Chocolate Chip Candy Cane Cookies
- Peppermint Marshmallow Ice Cream
- Candy Cane Crumble Bars
- Coconut Candy Cane Truffles
- Malted Candy Cane Milkshake
- Candy Cane Jello Shots
- Chocolate Peppermint Cream Pie (from A Bajillian Recipes)
More Simple Syrup Recipes
And if you're interested in making your own simple syrup at home through the holiday season and beyond, I have TONS of great recipes and I'm always developing more! Here are some of the best:
- Pumpkin Spice
- Candy Corn
- Sugar Cookie
- Pink Peppercorn
- Holiday Spice
I hope you have the most beautiful holiday, filled with candy canes, sugar plums, gingerbread, and all other forms of Christmas cheer!
Candy Cane Syrup
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 4 standard-size candy canes, broken into pieces
- Put all the ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring mixture to a boil.
- Once boiling, lower heat and let simmer for about 10 minutes, until candy canes have completely dissolved and mixture has thickened a bit.
- Pour syrup into a mason jar or bowl and place in fridge to cool completely before using. Syrup will continue to thicken as it cools.