When making cocktails, the usual way to sweeten your drinks is sugar syrup. But there are great alternatives: From color-changing syrups like the Butterfly Pea syrup to banana syrup to sugar syrup with intense flavor like Demerara syrup. There are many ways to sweeten your cocktail. And honey is one of them. However, using honey in cocktails is quite a challenge unless you use honey syrup.
Honey is well known for sweetening hot drinks like tea. And it also needs that heat to dissolve. In cold drinks, it will not dissolve as the consistency is thick and just won't mix. Luckily there's a workaround to help with that. Honey mix, also called honey syrup, will bring those delicious notes of honey to your cocktails and will blend perfectly with all ingredients.
In this article, I will show you how you can create honey syrup. And what to consider when using it as well as the kind of drinks you can make with it.
Is honey syrup the same as honey?
No, honey and honey syrup are definitely not the same. Honey syrup is a mix of water and honey and is also known as honey mix or liquid honey. As mentioned before, due to its texture, pure honey can't go into cold drinks like cocktails. So we need to water it down.
The best ratio for making honey syrup
For making honey syrup, the standard ratio is 1:1. If you prefer more intense notes of honey, a ratio of 2:1 (honey to water) or even 3:1 is possible. If you come across a recipe asking for honey syrup and it doesn't mention otherwise, a ratio of 1:1 will do the trick.
Different types of honey
Honey syrup and its taste highly depend on the honey you used to make it. If you're not quite the honey-lover, you might not be aware of the endless range available in the supermarket. But trust me, there are way too many possibilities. And while I sure can't mention them all here, I will discuss the most suitable ones for our cause.
Orange Blossom Honey
Orange blossom honey is mild honey with notes of citrus. Usually, it is made from orange blossoms and other citrus fruits like lemon and grapefruit. It's a fantastic mix for summer cocktails with floral Gins but also Vodkas.
Honey made of clover is another light and mild honey. It's a type of honey commonly used in many cocktails as it blends well with most ingredients. Clover honey mix works with light spirits, dark spirits, Tequila, you name it. So when in doubt, you can always rely on Clover honey.
Honey made of Eucalyptus has a really exceptional flavor. Notes of menthol mix with the typical sweetness of honey make it a brilliant and intriguing choice for making honey syrup.
Buckwheat honey is dark honey that has an intense flavor and taste to it. In terms of looks and viscosity, it looks more like molasses and less like honey. It has a strong aftertaste and is therefore rarely used for cooking. But it works truly well in cocktails with aged Rum, Bourbon, or an Extra Añejo Tequila.
Blueberry honey has distinct notes of berries in its flavor profile. A blueberry honey syrup is a beautiful fit for fruity cocktails that ask for berry notes. It works exceptionally well in summer Gin cocktails. You can easily replace the simple syrup with fruity blueberry honey syrup to create a beautiful twist.
Chestnut honey is said to be one of the best kinds of honey in the world. It is dark in color and has an intense flavor with notes of pepper. It's also less sweet than other common kinds of honey and has a slightly bitter aftertaste. Chestnut honey syrup works amazingly well in cocktails made with Whiskey.
Choose the right honey for your cocktail
With every cocktail, you have to balance flavors. When using simple syrup to sweeten your drinks, things are pretty straightforward. You don't have to worry too much about it. It will simply add a little texture and sweetness to your cocktail that balances out the sour elements. But when using honey syrup, it's important to think about how you want to use it.
Check if the flavor of the honey will work with the other ingredients in your cocktail. For this, taste the honey pure without watering it down. You don't have to perform a scientific study here. Just try to imagine if and how it would taste together with your other cocktail ingredients.
To do that repeatedly is especially important if you're not buying your honey from the supermarket but from your local beekeeper. Honey is a very natural product and relies on many factors. Therefore the same honey can vary in taste when purchased in different years.
To get started, I would recommend using Clover honey. It's a widely available product and also mild in flavor. Perfect for some experiments with honey syrup in cocktails. Try it in recipes where you usually would use simple syrup and taste the difference.
The best honey cocktails
Many delicious cocktails contain honey mix. For instance, the Bee's Knees, or a variation of that, the Gold Rush, are two great recipes to start with. Another pretty good cocktail is the Ve.n.to cocktail based on Italian Grappa. Penicillin is another fabulous cocktail that uses liquid honey as a sweetening part.
How to make honey syrup
It's pretty easy to make honey mix or honey syrup. As I said, a ratio of 1:1, honey to water, will deliver brilliant results. But it doesn't have to stop here. You can even add more flavor and aroma to this mix. Adding sprigs of rosemary or thyme when making your liquid honey will add another level of flavor. Of course, you always should ensure to add herbs and tastes that complement the honey you chose. Otherwise, you could detract from the original honey taste.
Another way to flavor honey syrup is to replace water with tea. Think of using chamomile tea or hibiscus tea. That can create a beautiful twist to an already delicious honey mix.