Our homemade lavender syrup is a great way to add a floral touch to mixed drinks. It's an easy-to-make, inexpensive, fragrant syrup you can incorporate into many recipes.
You can create flowery twists on recipes, like, for instance, a Lavender Lemon Drop Martini or Lavender Collins. Or you can add the syrup with a bit of fresh lemon juice to soda water for a refreshing lavender lemonade.
However, getting the purple color into lavender syrup is not as straightforward as you might think. Naturally, most DIY lavender syrups will turn from beige to amber-golden in color. We show you how to make the color more appealing.
- 1 cups Sugar
- 1 cup Water
- 4 tbsp Fresh or dried lavender buds
- 1.5 oz Vodka - (optional)
- Red (2 drops) & blue (1 drop) food coloring - (optional)
- Add all ingredients into a saucepan and slowly bring the mixture to a boil while stirring occasionally.
- Once the mixture starts to boil, reduce the heat and gently simmer the syrup until the sugar has dissolved.
- Remove the syrup from the heat and let it cool down to room temperature. Optionally, you can add a shot of Vodka at this point to lengthen shelf life.
- Finally, strain the syrup with the help of a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth and a bottle.
- Store it in the fridge until using it for refreshing lavender cocktails.
Making lavender simple syrup
This homemade lavender syrup is easy to make. Just like regular simple (sugar) syrup, you'll need an equal amount of sugar and water. The complete list of ingredients is not too long:
- Sugar: You can use regular white sugar or other types of sugar for our recipe.
- Water: make sure to use drinking water. Even though you bring the water to a boil, you want to be on the safe side.
- Lavender buds: use only the buds, not the stems. We'll discuss the best variety in detail below.
- Vodka (optional): If you want to increase the shelf time of your homemade lavender simple syrup, add a splash of vodka while it cools down.
Storing it in an airtight container inside your fridge will keep it fresh for a long time. That gives you plenty of time to make some delicious lavender syrup cocktails or lemonades.
Best lavender for Your Syrup
The key to great lavender syrup is using the right ingredients. That is valid for flower syrup more than anything, as you want to avoid buds treated with pesticides.
The best way to ensure you're using untreated, organic flowers is to grow them in your own garden. It gives you control of the plants and the certainty that they are safe to use.
If that's not an option, buy organic and food-safe lavender buds. Just watch out for a note on the label.
Don't use French Lavender
Don't use French lavender (Lavandula dentata) because it contains a high amount of camphor which can be toxic in large doses.
All lavender plants and products do contain camphor. However, English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is better for cooking and making syrup as it contains significantly less.
Lavandula angustifolia is the right choice for cooking, while Lavandula intermedia is best for medical use. It's said to help with sinus problems and even is said to help with snoring.
How to Make Purple Lavender Syrup
Add food coloring to the syrup for the perfect shade of purple. The addition of two drops of red and one drop of blue will get you a purple-colored syrup that looks pretty similar to lavender flowers.
Don't use purple food gels or colorings as they tend to create a darker, almost black color that isn't close to the paler shades of lavender.
Why is it not naturally purple? When thinking of lavender flowers and syrup, you'll instantly have a purple image in your head. Yet, that only applies to the flowers, not the syrup.
Most lavender simple syrups are naturally golden brown to amber, depending on the buds and steeping time. The color can also depend on how fresh the buds are, but their color cannot be extracted from them regardless of how fresh they are. -That's the case for many flowers, by the way.
If you let the buds steep for an extended time, the syrup will develop a more intense color, but not an elegant violet. On the contrary. In the end, you might not even achieve the shade of purple you had in mind by using food coloring.
Variations of Lavender Simple Syrup
My favorite variation of homemade lavender syrup is a combination with rosemary. Rosemary and lavender are a perfect match, and you easily substitute that for plain lavender syrup. The taste will be more complex and herbal without altering the general theme of the drink.
And lavender goes perfectly with a variety of other ingredients too:
Another way to tweak the recipe is by changing the sweetening component. You can experiment with a different type of sugar like palm sugar or demerara, or you could use honey instead.
For example, when using 1 cup of honey and half a cup of regular sugar, the final syrup tastes more fragrant and floral. This twist is fantastic with dark and aged spirits like Rum or Whiskey.
More Homemade Syrups for Cocktails
- Learn how to make a Homemade Banana liqueur based on Rum.
- Homemade Grenadine is a great alternative to overly sweet store-bought versions.
- Our DIY grilled pineapple syrup is the perfect sweetener for rich and bold Rum cocktails.
- Making your own Orgeat syrup is an excellent way to make delicious Tiki cocktails.
- Homemade cranberry syrup is an essential ingredient in many Christmas cocktails.