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 find in many floral cocktails.
You can create flowery twists on recipes and turn them into, for instance, a Lavender Lemon Drop Martini or Lavender Collins. But you can also combine a bit of syrup, fresh lemon juice, and soda water for a refreshing lavender lemonade.
You probably expect lavender syrup to be of purple color, just like the buds. However, that's not as easy as it sounds.
Naturally, most lavender syrups will turn from beige to amber golden in color. But of course, there's a way to help make the color more appealing.
Learn how to make a DIY lavender simple syrup and what you should look out for when making it.
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.
So, the list of ingredients is short:
- Lavender buds
All you have to do is combine the lavender buds with sugar and water in a saucepan. You gently heat the mix and let it simmer until the sugar dissolved completely.
Then, remove the syrup from the heat and let it cool down before straining and bottling your syrup.
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.
If you still want to increase shelf time, add a splash of Vodka to the lavender syrup while it cools down.
Using the right lavender for your syrup
The key to great lavender syrup is using the best ingredients. That is valid for a flower syrup more than anything, as you want to avoid buds treated with pesticides at all costs.
The best way to ensure that you're using untreated, organic flowers is by growing lavender 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 look for a respective note on the label.
Don't use French lavender
When growing your own, don't use French lavender (Lavandula intermedia). French lavender contains a higher amount of camphor which can be toxic in large doses.
Yes, all lavender plants and products will 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 commonly used for medical reasons. It's said to help with sinus problems and even is said to help with snoring.
How to make purple lavender syrup
When thinking of lavender flowers and syrup, you'll instantly have a purple image in your head. But that might only apply to the actual flowers, not the syrup.
Most lavender simple syrups are of golden brown to amber color, depending on the buds and steeping time. The color can also change depending on how fresh the buds are.
If you let the flowers steep for an extended time, the syrup will develop a more intense color. But in the end, you still might not get the shade of purple you had in mind.
Some bars are therefore adding food coloring to the syrup. The addition of two drops of red color and one drop of blue color will lead to a light purple-colored syrup that looks pretty similar to lavender flowers.
Avoid using purple food gels or colorings as they tend to create a darker, almost black color that isn't close to lavender whatsoever.
Variations of lavender simple syrup
Lavender syrup adds a beautiful floral touch to cocktails. Yet, sometimes you want a syrup that's less one-dimensional. Luckily, lavender blends perfectly with a variety of other ingredients.
My recommended addition to homemade lavender syrup is 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.
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.
- 2 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.
More homemade cocktail ingredients
- 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.
- Love the taste of lemons? How about a DIY Limoncello liqueur?!
- 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.