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.
A.J. Andrews' work has appeared in Food and Wine, Fricote and "BBC Good Food." He lives in Europe where he bakes with wild yeast, milks goats for cheese and prepares for the Court of Master Sommeliers level II exam. Andrews received formal training at Le Cordon Bleu.