Updated September 17, 2015
Heat 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar until sugar is disolved.
Add 1 cup of lilac flowers and allow to simmer on low heat for 10 minutes. If desired, add a few blueberries for color or use food coloring.
Drain syrup into a sealable glass jar - through a filter in order to remove the flowers. Let it cool, and then put in the fridge.
Add syrup to tea, cocktails, or use as a syrup.
How to Make Lilac Simple Syrup Using Fresh Flowers
Growing up, my neighbor in Maine had an old, gnarled lilac tree. Every time I smell lilacs it brings me back to standing in my neighbor’s yard. We used to pick the tiny flowers and breath in the “nectar” in through the stems. It was distinctly sweet. Once I had my own house, I made sure a lilac tree was planted. It’s taken a few years for the tree to mature and bloom but it’s starting to take off. In fact, I finally have enough blooms to make a lilac simple syrup! Since reading this book last year, I have really gotten into floral cocktails. Making an infused simple syrup is an easy way to add floral notes without overwhelming a drink. Let’s make some lilac simple syrup!
When are lilacs in season?
It depends on the variety, but generally speaking, lilac season is the month of May. In warmer areas, it might be earlier, and in cooler climates, a bit later.
Here in New Hampshire, lilacs typically begin to bloom in the first two weeks of May, although the last two years my lilacs haven’t fully opened until the second half of the month.
Once in bloom, lilac flowers are only around for about two weeks, so it’s best to plan ahead if you want to capture their beautiful fragrance in lilac syrup or lilac sugar.
Make sure that any flowers you harvest are free of pesticides or any other chemicals. And as always, be sure that you can identify the flowers you’re picking with 100% certainty.
Diane's Food Blog
Here is an easy way to make a lilac flavored syrup that can be used like any other simple syrup in recipes, drinks, etc. Quantities can be varied just be sure to use an equal amount of each ingredient (a good starting point that I used below is 1 cup of each).
The first method is for a lighter syrup, and the second method is for a more robust syrup (pictured above).
Keep syrup in a lidded jar in the refrigerator (or freezer) until ready to use. Use it like any other simple syrup or flavored syrup. It’s especially good in lilac lemonade (see recipe at the bottom of this post) or my favorite cocktail: a lilac sidecar. Enjoy!
For a lighter syrup:
1 cup sugar (or lilac sugar)
1 cup water
1 cup lilac blossoms, densely packed
Place sugar in a small saucepan and pour in the water. Stir to combine, and bring the mixture to a boil.
Keep stirring and boiling until all the sugar has dissolved and the liquid is clear. Boil for about 10 minutes to reduce and thicken it a bit, then stir in the lilac blossoms. They will immediately wilt.
Return the mixture to a boil, then remove the pan from the heat and let sit for 20-30 minutes, or even overnight. The longer the lilacs steep in the syrup, the stronger the lilac flavor will be.
Pour the cooled syrup into a jar through a small strainer.
1 cup lilac blossoms, densely packed (or more, for even more lilac flavor)
1 cup boiling water
1 cup sugar (or lilac sugar)
At least 12 hours before making the syrup, make a lilac infusion: Tightly pack lilac blossoms in a jar and pour the boiling water over them. Stir and let sit overnight (or for at least 12 hours). The longer the lilacs steep in the water, the stronger the lilac syrup will be.
To make the syrup, strain the infusion into a measuring cup and add just enough water to make 1 cup (or whatever unit of measure you’re using).
Place the sugar in a small saucepan and add the lilac infusion. Stir to combine, and bring the mixture to a boil. Keep stirring and boiling until all the sugar has dissolved and the liquid is clear. Boil for about 10 minutes to reduce and thicken it a bit, then remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool.
Here are a couple ideas for how to use this lovely floral syrup. I’d love to hear how you’ve used it, too!
Mix the following together in a 2-quart bottle or pitcher:
1 C lilac syrup
1 C freshly squeezed lemon juice (do NOT use the bottled stuff – juice real lemons)
4 C water (add more if needed)
I made two batches of this to test it, but did I save the link to the recipe I’d followed? Sadly, no. I basically followed an online recipe for hard candy and in place of the simple syrup I used lilac syrup. You’ll want the most robust syrup for candy, or any lilac flavor gets lost.
Follow the directions and make sure to heat it to the maximum temp recommended, or the hard candy won’t break apart quite as nicely and tends to stick to the teeth.
After pouring the mixture onto a sheet pan, let it cool and then break it into pieces.
Pretty in Purple: Lilac Simple Syrup & a Toast-Worthy Lilac 75
My goodness, I can’t tell you how excited I am to welcome Jayme Henderson from Holly and Flora to Eat Boutique.
I met Jayme in real life last year at The Hello Sessions in Portland, Oregon. We chatted, drank very good coffee, and then went shopping on the new-to-us streets of Portland. After exploring shops in a funky neighborhood, we bought the coolest clogs together and were definitely in like gin.
I so admire Jayme’s delightful insight into the world of cocktails, and am thrilled she will be sharing a bit of that knowledge here. Her concoctions are on-point and bridge the gap from garden to bar beautifully. We’ll learn a lot, I’m sure. Even if it means taste testing… and then a little more taste testing. Yessss.
I, for one, will be enjoying this Lilac 75 before the week is out. What about you? Cheers!
Lilac season is such a fleeting, colorful, fragrant moment. As soon as I take in the first lilac blossom of spring, I immediately dream of warmer days, even if there’s still snow on the ground. I think we all do. The last of the lilacs in my garden are blooming, and I want to capture their vibrant aroma, as much as I possibly can.
Aside from clipping blossoms for a vase in the kitchen or making lilac sugar, I always make a few batches of lilac simple syrup. It’s one way that I can preserve this edible flower’s flavor profile. I’ll add a little of this easy-to-make syrup to sparkling water or freshly brewed white tea, or I’ll pour an ounce or so into a glass of sparkling wine for a simple, yet elegant, cocktail.
This particular spring syrup makes a unique, seasonal treat for a friend or a fabulous adornment to a spring celebration. It’s like bringing someone a bouquet of flowers that actually lasts. This simple syrup recipe yields enough to make well over 20 cocktails. And since I love the pop of purple this plant provides, I add a secret ingredient to this particular recipe to ensure that the syrup fully resembles the color of its former floral self.
How to Make Lilac Syrup
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 like this one.
Decant into a clean glass jar and store in the refrigerator.
Tea (I found it delicious in peppermint)
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 really strong-flavored alcohol, as the floral taste will be lost. Think vodka, or with juices like white grape or pear.
I absolutely love helping you think of ways to add more handmade and homemade into your life, and when it is your turn to host guests I want you to feel ready! I created a FREE Shrub Making Email Course where I pop into your email inbox with lessons about how to make homemade cocktails with fruit and vinegar syrups called shrubs.
Medicinal uses are still a gray area when it comes to just the flower. Most resources that I have found (random blogs, pfaf.org, A Modern Herbal) list that the medicinal benefits of Lilac come from the leaves and fruit. Apparently used as a tea or infusion historically it has been used as a anti-periodic. Anti-periodic basically means that it stops the recurrence of disease such as malaria. There has been some studies that indicate a febrifuge action that may help bring down fever.
Lilac flowers have astringent, aromatic, and perhaps a little bitter qualities. Astringents tighten, draw, and dry tissues such as skin. So a wonderful application would be a cold or warm infusion to use as a toner on the face. Or using the same method but apply to rashes, cuts, and other skin ailments.
An aromatic action causes irritation to the place that it is touching (think GI tract) and irritation brings blood flow and blood flow equals healing! Eating the flowers raw may help with gastric issues such as flatulence or constipation. Making an herbal infused oil may be a great way to capture the aromatics for healing purposes and to make your own fragrance oil.
Lilac Syrup with a delicate botanical flavour is an excellent addition for recipes in place of regular simple syrup.
Hello everyone! I hope you are doing well. Happy unofficial start of summer, too!
I am super excited today. Why? I am sharing this wonderful Lilac Syrup with you. That’s correct: lilac flowers are absolutely edible.
You probably know I am a huge fan of floral flavours. For instance, last year I shared with you this Rose Syrup and Rose Petal Jam. Also, you can check this Dandelion Honey. In the past, I posted many lavender ideas, too (Yes, I’ve got to catch up with lavender!) If you love botanical flavours, this syrup will be your cup of tea.
How to Make Lilac Syrup?
It’s super easy. Collect flowers that are in full bloom, far from roads. If you are lucky to have a lilac bush in your backyard, make sure you don’t use dangerous pesticides. You will need only lilac florets. Remove all green parts (leaves and steams) as they could make your syrup bitter. The ratio is simple: one cup of tightly packed petals to one cup of sugar to one cup of water.
Next, bring to a boil, simmer for a while, and off heat. Let the syrup steep to infuse then discard the flowers. The more you steep the syrup, the more aromatic it’s going to be. However, I wouldn’t recommend doing that for long as it could develop too strong, almost artificial flavour, like soap. So my advice would be sampling a little of the syrup every 15-20 minutes to check if you’re satisfied with it.
The beautiful colour comes from blueberries. You will need 3 to 4 berries. That’s optional, but the natural colour would be brownish / yellowish.
How to Keep Lilac Syrup?
Keep it refrigerated for up to few weeks in an airtight container. To make it keep longer, you have to use sterilized cans.
How to Use Lilac Syrup?
Think of fancy cocktails, refreshing lemonades, or over your ice cream. Enjoy with pancakes, crepes, and French toasts. Besides, it would be great as a part of desserts, soak cake, topping for your oatmeal, and a dressing for your fruit salads. Let me think any other ways. And stay tuned as I am going to share some fabulous ideas soon.
I hope you like this recipe. If you still have some blooming lilacs where you live, please make it ASAP! We will learn some lovely ways to use it. If you make it, let me know in this post or send me an Instagram message or share you photos adding the hashtag #havocinthekitchen.
Gather and rinse fresh blossoms. Combine water and sugar in a saucepan and simmer over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Add lilac blossoms and simmer for 5 more minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a lidded container. Cool completely, cover and let steep for 8 hours. Line a wire strainer with a coffee filter and let the syrup slowly strain. Place in a clean jar or bottle, cover and refrigerate. Makes about 2 cups.
(Note: Lilac syrup lasts for about two weeks in the refrigerator. To make it last longer, pour into an ice cube tray and freeze until needed.)
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2 Comments on "Lilac Lemonade"
did you mean “Make sure to pick lilacs that have been sprayed with any chemicals.”, or ones that have NOT been sprayed?
Hi! Yes, that should have said have not been sprayed. I updated it. Thanks!
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