Give your favorite summertime drink a twist with these strawberry thyme cocktails. Make our quick strawberry simple syrup with fresh thyme, then shake it up with lime juice and tequila, gin, or vodka for an easy summer beverage you can make at home! Recipe for 21+; please drink responsibly.
One easy way to step up your homemade cocktail game? Make your own flavored simple syrup! This colorful cocktail is perfect for 4th of July, backyard barbecues, or your next girls’ night in. It’s also perfect for beginners – you only need a few ingredients to get started!
We love using homemade syrup in place of triple sec or sweet liqueurs like Cointreau and Grand Marnier. It’s the perfect way to infuse fun flavors (and bright colors!) into your favorite cocktails. (We use this method a lot – check out our Blackberry Whiskey Lemonade or Peach Bourbon Spritzers next!)
We’re making a quick strawberry simple syrup with a few sprigs of fresh thyme to add a bit of depth and earthiness, then shaking it together with some fresh lime juice and tequila (or vodka! or gin!) for a bright, refreshing summer cocktail.
In these photos, we used tequila for a spin on a traditional margarita, and added a bit of salt to the rim of each glass. But this easy three-part cocktail recipe is just as good with a dry gin (we like Broker’s) or your favorite vodka!
The basics of this simple strawberry syrup for cocktails:
Simple syrup is typically a 1:1 ratio of water and white sugar, heated together in a small saucepan until the sugar dissolves.
In this recipe, we’re adding fresh strawberries and a few sprigs of fresh thyme to infuse our syrup with extra flavor and give it a bright pink color. We’re also reducing the water a little bit from that traditional 1:1 ratio, since our strawberries will release quite a bit of water as the syrup cooks!
The syrup cooks fairly quickly – you’ll just need 10-15 minutes on the stovetop. When the sugar has dissolved and the berries have softened, let the syrup cool and pour it through a strainer to remove the berries and herbs. Use the cooled simple syrup right away or store it in the fridge for a few days until you’re ready to mix your cocktails.
Freeze the leftover strawberries and save them for smoothies! We like to lay our strawberries in a single layer on a nonstick baking mat, then pop them in the freezer to set for an hour or two before transferring them to an airtight container or Stasher Bag in the freezer.
What spirit should I use for this cocktail?
This cocktail is based on a traditional margarita and uses a 1:1:2 ratio of simple syrup to lime juice to liquor. But it works well with just about any spirit you have on hand!
- Tequila. We like Espolòn Blanco Tequila for cocktails and margaritas!
- Gin. A dry gin is our favorite here. We tend to reach for Broker’s, Tanqueray, or Beefeater London Dry.
- Vodka. Use whatever vodka you like! We typically use Sobieski, Ketel One, or New Amsterdam for cocktails.
(You can probably also use a good rum here, but our team is honestly pretty rum-averse so we haven’t tested that particular combination. Hah!) You can also swap club soda or tonic water for the booze if you’d like a nonalcoholic version.
The most important rule when it comes to selecting cocktail spirits is simple: Use whatever you like to drink!
Riffs and Substitutions
- Tuck some strawberry slices along the sides of each glass for a fun and easy garnish. We recorded a quick video of how to do this here!
- Swap the strawberries in this recipe for any fresh berries you have on hand: blackberries, raspberries, or blueberries are all good! Peaches are excellent in this simple syrup, too. You can also use frozen fruit instead of fresh (you may just need to let it cook for an extra few minutes).
- Use fresh basil or rosemary in place of the thyme.
- Stretch these drinks a bit farther by topping them off with a bit of sparkling water, tonic water, or even champagne!
These easy summer cocktails use a homemade strawberry and thyme simple syrup!
For the Simple Syrup:
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 8 ounces fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered (1/2 pound; about half of a standard grocery store container)
- 3–4 sprigs fresh thyme
Note: This recipe makes enough simple syrup for several cocktails. Use what you need and store the rest in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week!
For the Cocktails:
- 2 ounces simple syrup (recipe above)
- 2 ounces lime juice
- 4 ounces tequila (you can also use vodka or gin)
- Plenty of ice (at least 3 cups)
- Extra fresh strawberries, for garnish (optional)
- Extra sprigs of thyme, for garnish (optional)
For the simple syrup:
- Stir sugar, water, strawberries, and thyme together in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Bring to a low simmer and cook, stirring frequently, for 10-15 minutes until sugar has dissolved and strawberries have softened. The syrup should turn a bright, rich pink color as the strawberries begin to break down.
- Remove syrup from heat and let cool for 20-30 minutes, then strain to remove all fruit and herbs. (Pro tip: Reserve the leftover strawberries for smoothies!)
- Use cooled syrup immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. Note: This recipe makes enough simple syrup for several cocktails; use what you need for your drinks today and save the rest in the fridge for later!
For the cocktails:
- Add simple syrup, lime juice, and tequila (or your spirit of choice) to a large cocktail shaker. Shake over ice until chilled, then pour into cocktail glasses filled with ice.
- Garnish drinks with fresh strawberries and a sprig of thyme (optional) and serve immediately.
Adjust the sweetness. These drinks are very forgiving – add a bit of lime juice or simple syrup as necessary to achieve your preferred level of sweetness. If you tend to dislike sweeter drinks, we recommend dialing back the simple syrup a little bit when you mix these cocktails (you can always taste and add more later!)
How do I measure ounces? 2 ounces is equivalent to 1/4 cup.
Additions and substitutions. Use fresh raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, or peaches in place of the strawberries. You can use frozen fruit if you prefer (you may need to extend the cook time by a few minutes). Use fresh rosemary or basil in place of the thyme, or omit the herbs altogether if you prefer to just have the strawberry flavor. To stretch these drinks a bit, make the cocktail as directed, then fill each glass halfway with the cocktail and top with club soda, tonic water, or prosecco.
How to add a salt or sugar rim to your cocktail. Spread a thin layer of sugar or salt over a plate. Run a wedge of citrus (lime, orange, lemon) around the rim of each glass, then dip the glass into the salt. If you don’t have any citrus, you can pour a bit of water into a shallow bowl and dip the mouth of the glass into the water.
What kind of spirit should I use? These cocktails are delicious with tequila, gin, and vodka! We like using Espolòn Blanco Tequila, Broker’s or Beefeater London Dry Gin, and Ketel One or New Amsterdam vodka for cocktails. But use whatever you like to drink!
To make this strawberry cocktail for a crowd, follow a 1:1:2 ratio (1 part strawberry syrup, 1 part lime juice, 2 parts spirit) and scale up as needed.
If you don’t have a cocktail shaker, shake your drinks in a large mason jar with a tight-fitting lid.
Store extra strawberry syrup in the fridge for up to a week, or freeze for up to six months.
Love this recipe? Check out our fan-favorite Blackberry Whiskey Lemonade!
Keywords: cocktails, spirits, home bar