Dragon fruit may be mild, but what it lacks in bold flavor, it really makes up for with vibrant color! This easy dragon fruit simple syrup recipe uses pink-fleshed fruit (rather than white) for a fun and delicious way to sweeten all kinds of drinks.
The ultra bright color of this syrup turns drinks like lemonade or limeade a neon pink. It’s also great way to add summery color and mellow melon-like flavor to iced teas or simple cocktails.
What does dragon fruit taste like?
Dragon fruit, also known as pitaya, is fairly juicy with a sweet but mild flavor similar to melon. It can be described as a mix of melon, pear and kiwi. The texture of the fruit’s flesh is like kiwi, but a bit softer and also somewhat grainy by comparison.
Dragon fruit has lots of tiny, hard, black seeds that are edible (but also easy to strain out of muddled drinks or syrups). Preparing the fruit is very easy: simply cut it in half and scoop out the soft flesh, discarding the thick rind.
Dragon fruit is just the right texture for scooping and it’s a great candidate for a melon baller for making pretty garnishes or skewers of fruit.
What are the different types of dragon fruit?
Although they taste very similar, there are two different types of dragon fruit. Some have white flesh and others have a deep pink or red colored flesh. Both have small black seeds throughout.
What’s a little confusing is that you can’t always tell the color of the flesh by the fruit’s skin. The fruit has either pink or yellow skin, but the interior of either variety can be white or pink.
The white dragon fruits are the most mild and are best used for garnishes or a fun accent to a fruit salad. The pink or red fleshed fruits are more flavorful and my preference for eating and turning into syrup.
When shopping for dragon fruit, take a look at the sticker on the fruit. They will often say whether the inside is white or pink. I find the white fleshed variety to be much more common where I live (New England).
- White sugar
- Hot water
- Frozen pink dragon fruit
I make this recipe with frozen pink dragon fruit. I buy the brand Pitaya Plus because it’s individually portioned into 100g (about 1/2 cup) pouches. The convenient pouches made it easy to add the fruit to frozen smoothies, but it’s also the perfect way to get dragon fruit flavor into simple syrup, no measuring required! Another reason I prefer to use Pitaya Plus is that most of the seeds have already been removed. This makes straining the syrup a breeze.
Why I use frozen fruit
If you find it easier to use fresh fruit, measure out 100g by weight or use roughly a 1/2 cup. Freezing the fruit before combining it with the sugar and hot water will allow it to break down and mix together much easier, but it’s not required. Frozen fruit breaks down rapidly when it thaws, meaning less work for us. But if you don’t want to freeze the fruit in advance, you can simply muddle it thoroughly into the prepared simple syrup.
Ways to use this syrup
Make a basic pink dragon fruit lemonade by combining 1 part freshly squeezed lemon juice with 1 part syrup. Pour the over ice and top with 4 to 6 parts water (or sparkling water), to taste.
Turn it into a dragon fruit Collins cocktail by combing 2 ounces of vodka, gin, or white rum with 1 ounce of lemon or lime juice, and 1 ounce of dragon fruit syrup, over ice. Top with sparkling water, garnish with citrus slices, and enjoy!
Make a dragon fruit Gimlet: 2 ounces vodka or gin, 3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice, 3/4 ounce dragon fruit syrup. Shake all ingredients with plenty of ice and strain the liquid into a cocktail glass.
Use this syrup in place of grenadine in classic cocktails like the Tequila Sunrise for a fun, unexpected twist.
You might also enjoy these lemonade variations:
More summery syrups to make:
Dragon Fruit Simple Syrup
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup hot water (does not need to be boiling)
- 100 grams frozen pink dragon fruit (about 1/2 cup)
- Combine the sugar, hot water, and frozen dragon fruit in a heatproof jar or other container. Stir to help thaw the fruit and dissolve the sugar.
- Allow the mixture to sit for a few minutes, until all of the fruit has thawed and the sugar has dissolved. Use a fine mesh strainer to strain out the seeds and any excess pulp.
- Store any leftover syrup in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.