Much like its sugary simple syrup cousin, this honey syrup recipe is an awesome way to sweeten your cocktails. It’s super easy to make and its flavour in cocktails is incredible. Unlike simple syrup which just adds sweetness, honey syrup adds sweetness and the subtle flavour of honey. With over 300 varieties of honey worldwide, you’ll soon start to see all the tasty possibilities. So, let’s dive into the hive and get our ‘Bee-H-D’ in delicious honey syrup recipe.
Easy Honey Syrup Recipe for Cocktails, Marinades & More
PREP TIME 5 min
Make small batches of honey syrup rather than big batches and date them.
Warm the honey and water but don’t boil it because it destroys the delicate character of the honey.
Sterilise your storage bottle in boiling water to kill any germs before bottling it.
Pour the honey into a measuring jug
Add the warm water and stir well until combined
Pour into a sterilised bottle
Seal and store in the fridge for up to 1 month
Let’s talk about bees for a second
It’s easy to buy any bottle of honey, but you’ve got to consider where it came from, and this is why: every drop of this sweet, golden nectar is made by bees. A bee can visit up to 600 flowers a day collecting nectar which they store in a honey pouch. Special enzymes in the pouch begin the honey-making process the bee even deposits the honey in the hive. A single honeybee will make just 1 ½ teaspoons of honey in its lifetime. They say that to produce one pound of honey, a hive of bees must visit over a million flowers. That’s over a million flowers to make 500 ml of honey.
Unfortunately, the commercial the honey industry is rife with dodgy dealings and shady practices. Pollen filtering, honey laundering and cutting honey with high fructose corn syrup are just some of the things that happen behind the scenes. But that is an article for another time. Our advice is to source ethically farmed honey from responsible sources. That way you know that you’re not supporting practices that are hurting the bees and their environment.
Which honey to use?
There are a couple of options to choose from when making a honey simple syrup recipe. Most supermarket honey is pasteurised meaning it has been treated with high heat. This method kills any yeast, but it also destroys nutrients and some of the delicate character of the honey. Unpasteurised honey is treated with less heat, so more of the flavour remains intact. Raw honey is straight from the hive, but it is lightly filtered to remove impurities like beeswax and dead bees.
Another thing to consider is the nectar source of the honey. Wildflower and clover honey are great options because they are light and sweet. If you’re looking for something heavier, then try buckwheat or eucalyptus honey. Our advice is to go to your local farmers market, chat with the honey producers and find the best quality and most sustainable honey you can.
How to use this honey syrup recipe
We’ve listed a few classic cocktails below that use honey syrup. You can also use it in any cocktail as a simple syrup replacement. Honey syrup adds complexity to cocktails with floral and fruity flavours, so play around with different types of honey. It can also be used in everything from marinades and salad dressings to sweetening tea or coffee. You can even use it as a topping for waffles, fruit or ice cream.
- Bees Knees Cocktail: The Bees Knees is a 1920s classic that features punchy gin, vibrant lemon juice and floral honey syrup. It’s bright and herbaceous with a refreshing zing.
- Gold Rush Cocktail: The Gold Rush is a sweet-sipping, smooth-drinking bourbon cocktail. It has lemon juice for tartness, and it’s rounded off with honey syrup to complement the sultry bourbon flavours.
- Brown Derby Cocktail: The Brown Derby is another 1920s classic that features bourbon, grapefruit juice and honey syrup. It’s a gorgeous mix of sweet and tart with a smooth finish of oaky bourbon.
Now that you’ve got the basic recipe down, you can experiment with different flavour additions. Simply steep the ingredients in the warm honey for a few hours to infuse, then strain. For spices, you can try vanilla pods, star anise or any whole spices. For herbs, you can try rosemary, thyme or even edible lavender. For a honey ginger syrup recipe, add peeled and chopped fresh ginger.