This recipe for Honeysuckle Simple Syrup uses foraged wild honeysuckle in a sweet simple syrup that is perfect for cocktails, iced tea, lemonade, and more!
The honeysuckle came late this year.
I've been watching for it for weeks and weeks, but the long, wet winter pushed back this wildflower's blossoming time.
And then, quite suddenly, there was honeysuckle everywhere.
If you're in the middle of a honeysuckle bloom, and want to capture the flavor and scent of these edible wildflowers-- try foraging for honeysuckle!
I love making honeysuckle vodka, but this syrup is my other favorite flower recipe (and this one is kid-friendly).
This easy honeysuckle simple syrup is a sweet, floral sweetener that's perfect for cocktails, lemonade, and tea.
What is Honeysuckle?
Honeysuckle is a flowering vine that has spread it's way across the planet-- weaving it's invasive roots across America and into my backyard.
And probably your backyard.
Is Honeysuckle Edible?
When you forage for honeysuckle, look for a specific type. You want to find Japanese Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica).
Japanese Honeysuckle flowers contain an edible, sweet nectar.
Where Should I Look for Japanese Honeysuckle?
If you see honeysuckle vines taking over your backyard, your local park, and your favorite hiking trail, those vines are probably the invasive Japanese Honeysuckle.
For this recipe, we'll be infusing a sugar-water mixture with the flowers, allowing the nectar to soak into the syrup, and then discarding the flowers.
What Does Japanese Honeysuckle Look Like?
Japanese Honeysuckle grows on a vine. The flowers are white at first, and turn yellow with age, and will be about 1 ½ inches-long.
The untoothed, hairy, ovate-shaped leaves are opposite one another on the vine, and grow to about 3 inches-long.
Don't forage the flowers unless you're sure it's the right type of honeysuckle, because only the Japanese Honeysuckle has the sweet nectar inside.
Use a guide book if you need help identifying honeysuckle. I recommend this National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Wildflowers.
How Can I Forage Honeysuckle for This Simple Syrup?
Start by positively identifying the honeysuckle as Japanese Honeysuckle.
Avoid harvesting in areas with a lot of pollutants (like near a road), and make sure you have permission to gather the honeysuckle if it's not on your property.
To forage the flowers, I usually carry a bucket and a pair of gardening shears, and simply trim away flowers from the vine.
What's the Difference Between Honeysuckle Simple Syrup and Thicker Syrups?
This is not a thick pancake syrup.
Simply syrups are thin, and are delicious in drinks because they dissolve quickly.
To make a basic, unflavored simple syrup, you use equal parts sugar and water, and simply heat the water until the sugar dissolves.
For this honeysuckle simple syrup, we're adding honeysuckle into the mixture.
How Do You Make a Floral Infused Simple Syrup?
To make a simple syrup that's infused with flowers or herbs, you add the plants to the sugar water, heat the water, and simmer the mixture for about 5 minutes.
For flowers with a strong flavor (like lavender), you're done. All you have to do is strain the flowers out.
But, if the flavor you're infusing is very delicate (like honeysuckle), you'll let the flowers sit in the syrup for about an hour before straining them out.
How Can I Use this Honeysuckle Simple Syrup?
Add this syrup to lemonade, iced tea, hot herbal tea (like chamomile or mint), or cocktails.
Honeysuckle Simple Syrup
- 1 cup honeysuckle flowers, stems + leaves removed From the Japanese Honeysuckle plant
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 naval orange peel, organic + unwaxed prefered
- Clean honeysuckle by dipping them into a bowl of cold water. Set aside.
- Add the sugar, water, flowers, and orange peel to a small pot, and bring to a simmer. Simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.Note: You're only using the orange peel. You can eat the orange.
- Remove pot from heat, and let the flowers steep for 1 hour.
- Pour the mixture through a mesh sieve into a glass jar or other container. Store in the fridge for up to a month.