Simple syrup is a common ingredient in drink recipes, whether you're making cocktails or iced coffee. Don't be tempted by bottled sweeteners; if you can boil water, you can make simple syrup. It's an easy step but an important one. By dissolving granulated sugar in hot water before adding it to cold beverages, you ensure an even distribution of sweetness without any gritty crystals left in the bottom of the glass. Here's a go-to recipe that will keep refrigerated for a month.
Slideshow: Cocktail Party Recipes