Pouring sugar into saucepan with boiling water
vinicef/iStock/Getty Images

Sugar water only contains its two namesake ingredients, but in different proportions depending on the application. You might use sugar water in baking, making candies or making cocktails. You can also add sugar to brines to offset their saltiness. When you see a recipe that calls for sugar water, it almost always refers to white granulated sugar.

Proportions and Uses

The weakest concentration of sugar water, used to boil bagels, consists of 1 tablespoon of sugar for every 2 quarts of water. The heaviest concentration of sugar water, heavy simple syrup, goes into dessert sauces, candies and glazes. Heavy simple syrup comprises 2 parts sugar and 1 part water cooked until the sugar dissolves. Basic simple syrup, the most common sugar-water mixture, contains equal parts sugar and water, cooked until the sugar dissolves. Basic simple syrup goes into cocktails, and is used for candying fruits and making caramel.