Honey doesn’t dilute well in cocktails, so make a honey simple syrup that’s sweet as, well, honey. It’s easy to make and makes a naturally sweet addition to any cocktail.
Honey is one of the best sweeteners out there.
Why? It’s perfectly sweet. It takes on the flavors of local flora. It’s natural. It’s easy to find locally so you can support local beekeepers. It has health benefits. It can keep for decades if stored properly.
But it has one flaw. A big one.
Have you ever tried to mix honey in a cocktail? Especially a cold one.
It’s an absolute mess. When the honey hits an ice cube, it seizes up and becomes almost solid, and it is so hard to mix.
Been there. Trust me.
Honey WILL dilute, eventually… but with a lot of work. Lots of stirring or shaking. And as you do so, your ice melts and dilutes more. And then your cocktail won’t taste as intended.
The solution? Honey simple syrup, also known as “runny honey.”
What is honey simple syrup?
Honey simple syrup is the solution to mixing honey into drinks.
The trick to getting honey to dilute in a cocktail — or any cold beverage, like iced tea — is to heat it up with water to make a honey syrup.
The honey simple syrup is then easier to mix in at cold temperatures. You can store it in your fridge to sweeten everything from iced tea to old-fashioned cocktails.
Honey works well in hot drinks, like lattes and tea, but it’s such a menace in cold drinks. (A menace not unlike its creators, the honeybees, if you ask me!)
Ingredients you need
To make honey simple syrup, you only need two things. But that means quality is super important.
- Honey — You will want a good quality honey. Make sure it is 100% honey and not mixed with corn syrup or any other ingredient. You want real honey. My favorite honey always comes from my local farmers market, but you can always buy it at the store. I really like Nature Nate’s honey because it is raw and unfiltered. I also really love this bourbon-barrel aged honey because it adds an extra layer of flavor to the cocktails.
- Water — Tap water will work, but if you have filtered water or bottled water available, I recommend that instead for an even purer taste. I use this Soma water pitcher in my kitchen because it is faster than the water that comes from my fridge.
How to make honey simple syrup / runny honey
Honey simple syrup can be made in a few simple steps:
- Measure equal parts honey and water.
- Add them to a saucepan over medium heat.
- Stir them together until combined.
- Remove from heat and let cool a bit before using.
Here are step-by-step photos showing you how to make honey simple syrup:
I always heat up the water first while I measure the honey, then the honey will mix in faster.
Then add your honey. Use a spatula to get every last drop out of your measuring cup. Or you can use one of these measuring cups for dry solids which takes care of this for you.
Then stir them together. The honey will take a bit to fully dissolve into the water. It will be done with the mixture is all one color and thickness.
Don’t let it come to a boil — you’re simply melting the honey down so it will mix with the water.
(There’s no danger in letting it boil, but boiling will evaporate off some of your syrup and make it thicker, which we don’t really need to do.)
How to store honey simple syrup
Keep your honey simple syrup in an airtight container, such as a mason jar, in the fridge. I like these 8-ounce Ball jars.
How long does runny honey last?
Although honey is shelf-stable, runny honey only lasts about 1 month. When you add water, you are adding the possibility of bacteria.
After a month, don’t take any chances and toss your honey simple syrup. Then make another batch!
What to make with honey syrup
There are tons of options for honey simple syrup. Use it in anything where honey sounds good.
- hot or iced tea
- hot or iced coffee
- espresso drinks like lattes
- drizzled over ice cream
You can also use it in place of traditional simple syrup — it will have a honey flavor but it will still be delicious!
Uses for honey simple syrup
There are so many ways to use honey simple syrup:
- Try it in whiskey drinks, like a honey old fashioned or mint julep. The sweetness of honey pairs well with oaky bourbons and ryes. A honey lemon whiskey sour is always welcome in the winter months!
- Mix it into tea to sweeten it. You can use it in hot tea or iced tea.
- Try it in a latte, hot or iced. It will stir in so easily into an iced drink.
- Mix it into a classic mojito to sweeten it. The honey will taste so good with this minty rum combo!
- Smash it with fruit and your favorite spirit. Try it with smashed peaches and bourbon.
It is really so versatile, and the uses are limitless. Would love to hear how you use your runny honey! // susannah
P.S. If you really love whiskey and honey together, you might consider making them into homemade honey whiskey.
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup honey
- Add water to a saucepan over medium heat.
- Add the honey.
- Stir together until the honey is fully dissolved, about 5 minutes.
- Let cool before using. Store in an airtight container such as a jar for up to one month.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1 ounce
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 64Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 0gSugar: 17gProtein: 0g