Lilacs are arguably the most lovely, fragrant, and iconic springtime flowers. This post will share how to make a simple syrup to add fragrance and flavor to tea, cocktails, and more in short order. I will also explain why the syrup is NOT a pretty purple color.
This spring, I was determined to do several things with flowers that I hadn’t done in the past. One item on my floral to-do list was to make lilac syrup. As soon as the very, very old lilacs on the family ranch started blooming, I headed over with a pint jar and in about 10 minutes of picking, I had enough to make syrup.
Before picking, I did a little research. Many photos online of lilac syrup were of a vibrantly hued purple liquid. I thought that perhaps the flowers would hold their color when simmered, but I was skeptical.
I am guessing that those photos I saw, and that you may have seen, have been edited to maintain a vibrant purple hue. I could have fiddled with adding blueberries or food coloring but I didn’t fool with it. It wasn’t an unappetizing color and I’d argue that many of us should get used to a more naturally colored plate.
I also would guess that are some crafty folks out there who chose purple lilac flowers over their white or pink cousins because, consciously or unconsciously, they had seen the bright purple color and thought purple was the go-to bloom. I chose purple because they bloom first but now I know, as I’ll explain below, the color matters not.
I picked the flowers not one at a time, but by the pinch-full, and found that to be a quick method.
I picked what I guessed to be an overflowing cup full and headed home.
The flowers spent the night in the fridge without any ill effect.
Give flowers a once over for stems and rinse if appropriate.
Measure your flowers. Don’t pack tightly into a cup, but smoosh down a bit. Let’s say you picked 1 cup of flowers for this ratio.
Combine equal parts water and sugar (1 cup + 1 cup) in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Whisk and heat until sugar dissolves. Do not bring to a rolling boil.
Add lilac flowers. Simmer gently for 10 minutes. The flowers will wilt within minutes, your kitchen will smell heavenly, and you will notice that the syrup is a greenish brown color. That is appropriate.
Remove from heat and strain. I used a mesh strainer.
Decant into a clean glass jar and store in the refrigerator.
Add syrup to:
Tea (I found it delicious in peppermint)
Cocktails (vodka or gin)
One way I discovered how to use this floral syrup is in cocktails.
I have found this syrup to be a delightful addition to any cocktail, even in a mixture as simple as 1 part syrup, 1 part libation, and 3 sparkling water. You won’t want to choose a really strong-flavored alcohol, as the floral taste will be lost. Think vodka, or with juices like white grape or pear.
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What else could you add this lovely syrup to, Dear Readers? Share in the comments below! If you loved this flower-theme, hold on to your shorts. I have big plans for honeysuckle, more lilacs, roses, and more. Stay tuned 🙂