honey water recipe

Honey Simple Syrup Elevate Your Drinks with This Easy Recipe

If you’re looking to add depth and complexity to your drinks and craft cocktails, honey simple syrup is the perfect sweetener for you. With just two ingredients and a few minutes of prep time, you can make a flavorful and nuanced syrup that blends seamlessly with cold beverages. In this article, we’ll show you how to make honey syrup, discuss the best honey to use, and explore different ways to use this delicious sweetener. Let’s get started!

What is Simple Syrup?

Simple syrup is a liquid sweetener that easily mixes into both non-alcoholic drinks and spirited libations. Bartenders often use simple syrup instead of plain sugar because it dissolves instantly into beverages without constant stirring or shaking. This ensures that the sweetness is evenly distributed throughout the drink, rather than settling at the bottom like sugar would. Flavored simple syrups, like honey syrup, can elevate your drinks and create unique specialty cocktails.

What You’ll Need for Honey Simple Syrup

To make honey simple syrup, you’ll only need two ingredients:

  • Honey
  • Water

What’s the Best Honey for Simple Syrup?

The best honey for your simple syrup is subjective and depends on your personal preference and the type of drink you’re making. Different types of honey can have distinct flavors, ranging from light and citrusy to deep and complex. Here are a few recommendations based on the drink you’re creating:

  • For cocktails with gin or light spirits, consider using clover honey, acacia honey, or lighter varieties of wildflower honey. These honeys will complement the citrus flavors in your drink.
  • If you’re blending honey syrup with bourbon or other dark spirits, try using darker honeys like orange blossom honey, saw-palmetto honey, or buckwheat honey. These varieties will add a robust and almost malty flavor to your drink.

For our honey syrup recipe, we used Nature Nate’s raw, unfiltered honey, which is dark, sweet, and robust. It adds an elevated sweetness to our favorite bourbon drinks.

Why Make Honey Syrup Instead of Using Straight Honey?

You might be wondering why you should bother making honey syrup when you can simply add straight honey to your drinks. The answer lies in the viscosity of honey. Honey is thick and viscous, which means it doesn’t readily dissolve into drinks, especially cold ones. By heating the honey with water to make a syrup, you can thin it out and easily stir it into your drink without any hassle.

How to Make Honey Syrup for Cocktails and Drinks

Follow these simple steps to make honey syrup for your cocktails and drinks:

  1. In a small saucepan, combine equal parts honey and water.
  2. Heat the mixture over medium-low heat and simmer, stirring constantly, until the honey dissolves in the water and you have a homogenous mixture. Be careful not to boil the mixture.
  3. It should take about 1-2 minutes to fully combine. Once combined, remove the saucepan from heat and allow the syrup to cool to room temperature.
  4. Transfer the honey syrup to a sealed airtight container and store it in the refrigerator until ready to use.

What is the Best Ratio of Honey to Water?

The ratio of honey to water in your syrup will depend on your desired consistency and sweetness. For most craft cocktails, a 50/50 ratio works well. This means using a half cup of honey and a half cup of water. If you prefer a thinner consistency, you can use more water, such as 3/4 cup of water to 1/2 cup of honey. For a thicker and sweeter syrup, use 3/4 cup of honey to 1/2 cup of water.

Is Honey Toxic When Heated?

There is some debate about the effects of heating honey. While it’s true that heating honey above 140°F can degrade its health benefits, it doesn’t make it toxic or harmful. The harmful effects only occur if you heat honey for more than two hours at that temperature, which is unlikely in the context of making honey syrup. So, feel free to heat your honey and water mixture to dissolve the honey without worrying about any negative effects.

Frequently Asked Questions About Simple Syrup with Honey

Does honey simple syrup go bad? Honey is actually a preservative in its unadulterated state, so it doesn’t go bad easily. However, heating the honey does degrade its preservative nature. To ensure the longevity of your honey syrup, store it in the refrigerator with a tight-fitting lid. It should keep without any ill effects for several weeks or even a month.

Is one honey better than another for simple syrup? Not necessarily. The best honey for your simple syrup depends on the flavors you’re looking to achieve. Lighter honeys work well in gin or vodka drinks and can be used as a substitute for sugar in lemonade. Darker honeys tend to have more sweetness and robust flavors, making them a great choice for bourbon or other dark spirit cocktails.

Other Ways to Use Simple Syrup with Honey

Aside from using honey syrup in cocktails, there are many other ways to enjoy its delicious sweetness. Here are a few ideas:

  • Sweeten your oatmeal and Greek yogurt by adding a few teaspoons of honey syrup. It will thin out the consistency and add a touch of sweetness.
  • Create a simple dressing by brushing honey syrup over cut fruit. It pairs particularly well with segmented citrus fruits.
  • Moisturize a dry pound cake by brushing honey syrup over it. Top it off with whipped cream and berries for a delicious dessert.

Variations to Try with Honey Simple Syrup

If you want to experiment with different flavors, here are a few variations you can try:

  • Add 5-6 sprigs of fresh thyme or rosemary to the warm honey simple syrup and let the herbs steep for half an hour. Then strain the syrup to remove any stems or leaves. The fresh herbs will add a fresh and light note to your drinks.
  • Use a vegetable peeler to remove strips of zest from an orange or lemon (avoiding the bitter white pith). Let the citrus steep with the syrup for half an hour, then remove the strips. This will infuse your syrup with a citrusy flavor.
  • Add lavender to the honey syrup to intensify its floral flavors.

Honey Syrup Cocktails to Try

Now that you have your homemade honey syrup, here are a few cocktails you can make:

  • Bee’s Knees: Mix honey syrup, gin, and lemon juice for a citrusy and floral cocktail.
  • Bourbon Sour: Combine honey syrup, bourbon, and lemon juice for a sweet and tangy drink.
  • Hot Toddy: Add honey syrup, hot water, whiskey, and lemon juice to create a comforting and warming cocktail.


Honey simple syrup is a versatile and flavorful sweetener that can elevate your drinks and cocktails. With just two simple ingredients and a few minutes of prep time, you can create a syrup that adds depth and complexity to your favorite beverages. Whether you’re blending it with gin, bourbon, or simply sweetening your morning oatmeal, honey syrup is a must-have in your kitchen. Give this easy recipe a try and enjoy the rich and nuanced flavors it brings to your drinks. Cheers!

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