Honey syrup is the easy way to add honey to drinks. If you’ve ever added honey to a cold beverage like iced tea, iced coffee, or a mixed drink, only to find a rock hard lump of honey at the bottom of your cup, read on!
Is honey syrup the same as honey?
Not exactly. If a drink recipe calls for “honey syrup”, it’s talking about liquid honey.
Honey straight from the jar is super thick and hard to incorporate into drinks. It tends to become hard when cold, so mixing honey directly into cold drinks is rarely successful.
There are ratio variations when it comes to honey syrup, so be sure to check the details of an individual drink recipe to make sure your syrup isn’t too sweet or too diluted.
This honey syrup recipe is a simple syrup but some drinks call for a rich honey syrup or other ratios.
Learn about the best alternatives to honey syrup in my Simple Syrup Substitutions!
What is rich honey syrup?
Rich syrup just means that there is twice as much sweetener to water. Rich honey syrup is made with two parts honey and one part water.
It has a richer mouthfeel and adds a velvety texture to drinks. However, it’s also twice as sweet and it can be a bit harder to mix into cold drinks that are stirred (rather than shaken honey drinks like cocktails).
For a delicious and refreshing drink featuring honey syrup, try my Winter Sun morning mocktail!
Can I use honey syrup instead of simple syrup?
Yes! This recipe will give you a syrup that is approximately the same level of sweet as standard simple syrup, so they could be used interchangeably.
Just keep in mind that honey syrup will lend a different color and flavor to your drink. Swapping honey syrup in place of simple syrup is a fun way to experiment with new flavors, whether it’s in iced tea, a latte, lemonade, or a cocktail.
If you enjoy honey in cocktails, you might like the Gold Rush, my Grapefruit Pomegranate Sour, or my Yellowjacket.
Is it healthy?
It’s harder than ever to know what to believe when it comes to ‘healthy’ food and drinks.
Here’s what honey is: it’s an all natural sweetener that has been shown to have some health benefits, including being a prebiotic. This means that it feeds the good bacteria in our guts.
It’s also a classic sore throat soother and if left in its raw state (not treated with heat or otherwise processed) it contains some potent antioxidants.
These are all nice properties, but consuming a whole bunch of honey probably wouldn’t be that healthy. It still contains a fair amount of sugar and calories.
Is it perhaps a bit healthier than regular sugar syrup? Sure. But just like with any syrup, moderation is key.
How do you make honey syrup?
Honey syrup is nothing more than a mix of honey and water. There are variations on how much water to use, but a simple honey syrup is just one part honey stirred together with one part water until the honey dissolves.
Once the honey has been ‘loosened’ by the water, it mixes effortlessly into drinks of all kinds, hot or cold.
It’s perfect in iced teas, iced coffees, detox drinks, smoothies, frozen mocktails, cocktails, you name it. Extremely easy to make and so worth it!
Do I need to cook it?
No, in fact I don’t recommend cooking simple syrups at all if you don’t have to.
Sometimes an ingredient needs to be heated in order to extract its flavor, but honey syrup needs no heating. And if you’re using raw honey, heating it can destroy the antioxidants and natural enzymes that you probably bought it for.
If you want, you can use warm water instead of room temperature water. This will help the honey dissolve a little quicker, but it really takes no time at all even with tepid water!
How long will it last?
Honey in its natural state is shelf stable. However, once you add water to it, it quickly becomes a breeding ground for all kinds of nasties.
Keep your honey syrup in the refrigerator in a covered container and use it within two weeks. If it begins to look cloudy or off in any way, toss it and make a fresh batch.
You can also add an ounce of vodka or grain alcohol to any homemade syrup to help it keep a bit longer. The shelf life of most syrups is the reason I like to make quick and easy small batches.
Honey syrup variations
If you’re interested in flavor more than any health benefits, there are a lot of ways you can add more flavor to your honey through heating it.
Replace the water with your favorite tea for a delicious twist – earl grey honey syrup and chamomile honey syrup are favorites of mine.
I also like to replace the water component with a tea made from steeped dried herbs or flowers like lavender, rosemary, or even roses.
Honey and flowers are an unbeatable flavor combination that’s perfect for spring. Add a few drops of rosewater or orange blossom water for a floral honey syrup in seconds.
You might also enjoy my Lilac Simple Syrup recipe.
In addition to floral or herbal flavors, you can infuse your honey syrup with fruits or spices or even chiles for the ever popular spicy honey. And if you don’t have patience to wait for a chile infusion, try my easy Hot Honey Syrup recipe!