If you’re a budding mixologist, the most essential ingredients to have on hand at all times—aside from a generous array of spirits, of course—are lemons, limes, plenty of ice and a bottle of simple syrup. Most grocery stores sell premade simple syrup, but it’s easy enough to whip up a large batch at home, because the formula is, well, simple:

1 part hot water to 1 part granulated sugar (the water should be hot enough to dissolve the sugar).

Make sure the syrup is cool before you mix it into cocktails.

Simple syrup will keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.