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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.
If you love using edible flowers, make sure to check out these flower ideas: nasturtium salad, chive blossom vinegar, chive (+ chive blossom) butter, and stuffed squash blossoms.
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?
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 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.
If you want to try more simple syrups, try this mint simple syrup, lavender simple syrup, citronella simple syrup, and ginger simple syrup.
How Can I Use this Honeysuckle Simple Syrup?
Add this syrup to lemonade, iced tea, hot herbal tea (like chamomile or mint), or cocktails.
Try swapping the honeysuckle syrup for the simple syrups in these recipes: Lavender Lemonade, Bourbon Sour with Lavender, How to Make a Mint Julep, and Rhubarb Champagne.
It’s also a delicious way to sweeten herbal teas, like fresh mint tea and catnip tea.
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.
This syrup is so ridiculously good! I love it in a mint julep- that’s such a good idea!
Works great without orange peel too. I don’t simmer the whole hour it’s not necessary. I bring to a simmer and stir good then shut off and let it sit for a bit. The flavor is still just as strong. No yellow food color needed it makes a nice yellow color as is. I use some darker yellow suckle they are sweeter. Great recipe I whipped some into butter and used the rest for tea. Love it.
Yay, so glad you love it! What an awesome idea to add it to whipped butter, I’ll have to try that!
Just to clarify though- the recipe only says to simmer for 5 minutes, and then you’re steeping off-heat for 1 hour.
(I wouldn’t recommend an hour-long simmer!)
Dawn - Girl Heart Food
I love the idea of making a syrup out of honeysuckle! And the addition of orange peel is brilliant! Perfect added to water or even for a cocktail on a hot summer day 🙂
Do you think this would work with Swerve instead of sugar? I have issues with sugar causing migraines.
Maybe! I haven’t tried swerve. Does it have a strong flavor? You just want to avoid sweeteners that would overpower the honeysuckle. I’d probably suggest dissolving a little into some water first and seeing if it has a strong flavor. If not, go for it!
Just avoid a sweetener with a really strong flavor (like maple syrup). It might even be good with a really mild honey in the water
I gave Champagne Tastes’ honeysuckle simple syrup a try today! Let me tell you, my kitchen smelled amazing all afternoon. I had no idea making my own sweetener could be so easy. I can’t wait to try it in my tea and perhaps even my iced coffee.
If I get a chance to try it with the Swerve, I’ll let ya know!
Yes definitely do!! I hope it works for you!
I really need to hunt down some honeysuckles and make this ASAP!!! This looks amazing. I have always loved the scent and flavor of honeysuckles. Reminds me of my childhood!
Fabulous, altered the amounts to 2 cups water, 3 to 4 cups honeysuckle flowers, 1 cup raw sugar. Simmered it for 15/20 mins with the pared zest of orange. Used this morning on French Toast, a orange salad for dessert at lunch (yep, the fruit from the paring) diluting slightly and using the oj from the orange scraps, decorating with pineapple mint and elder flowers. I suspect with a water bath the bottle would store indefinitely but this is too good not to use and enjoy in June. Thank you for the inspiration.
I’m so glad you loved it!! Your version sounds amazing 😍
I made my first batch of honeysuckle syrup the other night and it turned out even better than I expected! So easy, so delicious! I love that I’ll be able to savor one of my favorite smells and make use of the invasive flower. Thanks for the recommendation, @champagne-tastes 😊
Yay!! I’m so glad that you loved it!! (And yay for honeysuckle!)
This looks so good! Will this simple syrup really keep for a month in the fridge?
Hi Kat! A month is the typical shelf life for homemade simple syrups if you keep them refrigerated, but of course- if it starts to smell or looks off, use your best judgement and toss it out! (I have kept and used mine for that long.)
So tasty! This is going to be great in champagne, gin cocktails, and iced tea. Thanks for the recipe!
Yay!! I’m so glad you loved it!
Thank you for this recipe! I have made violet simple syrup in the past and used lemon to alter the color, is that the reason for the orange in this recipe or is there another reason?
Hi Aster! You’re very welcome!! The orange peel adds a really nice flavor to the flowers. You could use lemon peel instead or skip if you don’t have. Let us know how it goes!
-Alisha at Champagne Tastes
I’m made of beans
I made a larger batch and added some dried osmanthus flowers (you can find them at many Chinese grocery stores) since I didn’t collect enough honeysuckle. In my opinion osmanthus has a bright fruity scent that goes great with honeysuckle.
Nice tip! Glad you found something to supplement the flavor.
-Alisha at Champagne Tastes
Will this work with honey instead of sugar? Curious if that will affect the consistency, the flavor, or its ability to keep.
Hi Hannah, you could use honey, sure! I’d probably use a mild honey (not a really dark specialty honey) because a strong-flavor honey would overpower the honeysuckle flavor. Switching to honey shouldn’t change anything else in the recipe. Thanks for asking, let us know how it goes!
-Alisha at Champagne Tastes
I’m making this as an addition, and personal tweak in a Penicillin Cocktail. Using Glenmorangie
X Scotch. Garnish with a sprig of honeysuckle with an orange twist wrapped among the honeysuckle
-Alisha at Champagne Tastes