Honey simple syrup is an easy way to add some of the complex flavors in honey to cocktails, mocktails, tea, coffee, baked goods, and more.
What makes honey such a unique sweetener is that it adds rich, complex flavors and a mild sweetness to whatever you’re making, while refined sugar and most other sweeteners just make things taste sweeter.
The advantage of using honey in a simple syrup, rather than by itself, is it’s a lot easier to work with and doesn’t make everything around it sticky – which seems to happen a lot when we use it straight from the jar.
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A lot of cooks learn how to make honey simple syrup, often referred to as honey syrup, so they can use it as a canvas to create a range of flavored syrups by infusing them with fresh herbs such as ginger, lavender, lemongrass, mint, and rosemary.
They can also be infused with fruits such as lemon, blueberries, and strawberries or for a little kick-in-the-pants things like jalepeños.
If you’re someone who likes to explore local ingredients, honey is the gift that keeps on giving; not only do different types have different characteristics and colors, different batches from the same bees can change dramatically over the year as they visit different kinds of plants.
Using Honey Syrup in Cocktails
This simple syrup made with honey is an excellent addition to cocktails and can be substituted for our standard Simple Syrup in most cocktail recipes. The syrup adds layers of flavors and a mild sweetness that ordinary refined white sugar doesn’t have.
Turning it into a syrup also makes it easier to work with when mixing up a drink in a glass or cocktail shaker.
Since honey gets its floral sweetness from the flowers and plants the bees feed on, it’s an ideal ingredient for mixing up cocktails or mocktails with complex characters and is especially valuable for highlighting floral notes in drinks.
It’s lovely to have around during the summer to add to cold drinks, such as iced coffee and tea.
It can also be combined with lemon juice to make a quick lemonade. To make Honey Lemonade mix 1 oz syrup with 1 oz lemon juice and 4 oz of water.
Some of our favorite cocktails that highlight the honey syrup’s complexity are the Brown Derby, Gold Rush, and the Torchlight. Our Bees Knees recipes is one of our favorite spring and summer cocktails.
How to Make Honey Simple Syrup
The syrup should be made over low heat with the honey added to the water and heated only as long as it takes for the two to combine. Excessive heat can break down elements within the honey.
The syrup should last for three to four weeks stored in an airtight container in the fridge. We recommend refrigerating it in a squeeze bottle or glass jar but found several writers during our research who don’t think it’s necessary to refrigerate it since raw honey doesn’t need to be stored in the fridge.
Any type of honey will work in this recipe. The final syrup will reflect the honey used in color, taste, and complexity. We recommend using high-quality local honey, preferably organic, as an easy way to support local agriculture.
The syrup can also be used as a substitute for white sugar in vinaigrettes, sauces, marinades, and baked goods. We often swap out some of the white sugar in fruit crisps and pies with honey for the way it enhances and compliments the fruits’ flavors.
Using the syrup this way means you might need to add slightly more than what’s called for in recipes written for honey straight from the jar or white sugar.
This recipe is also a great way to get something from those old half-used jars sitting around the kitchen where the honey has crystallized and refuses to come out without an embossed invitation.
Some cooks like to use a 2 to 1 or 3 to 1 ratio of honey to water to create a thicker version of the syrup that they use as a general sweetener and as the basis for salad dressings. The advantage of using it this way is the syrup is easier to work with than what comes in the jar but is still thick enough that it doesn’t make things runny.
We think a more straightforward way that uses less complicated math to thicken or thin the syrup is to continue to add a 1/4 cup of honey for thicker or a 1/4 cup of water to thin the syrup until it reaches its desired consistency.
One thing we recommend if you like cooking with honey, molasses, or other thick ingredients that like to cling to jars is picking up an adjustable measuring cup. They’re the only thing that works for accurately measuring sticky stuff.
- 1 cup honey
- 1 cup water
- In a small saucepan, combine the honey and water over low heat.1 cup honey, 1 cup water
- Use a whisk to slowly stir the honey until it has dissolved into the water. This usually takes 5 to 10 minutes.
- The color of the simple syrup when it's done will be a slightly lighter shade than the honey used.
- Store in a plastic squeeze bottle for 3 to 4 weeks in the fridge.