Honeysuckle Iced Tea / The View from Great Island

With Easter and Passover behind us, spring is really and truly here.  The honeysuckle vine draped across my front porch is in bloom, and  every time I go in or out I’m blown away by the scent.  I’ve been determined to use those incredible – edible  flowers somehow.  I’m always inspired by ingredients I can find  in my own yard, (or my neighbor’s!)  Over the last three years we’ve moved so often that I’ve tried to reduce the sting by challenging myself to find the elements in each new landscape that I can incorporate into my cooking.    I tried to make you a honeysuckle ice cream, but I’m going to have to keep working on that one, the flavor just didn’t come through.   Honeysuckle tea is more mainstream, in fact its been used medicinally by the Chinese for thousands of years.   I love it for its delicate scent, and the nectar is sweeter than honey.  I was amazed by how much flavor I got out of a jarful of  flowers.  If you have access to a vine, you’ve got to try this.

Honeysuckle Iced Tea 1

Honeysuckle tea is made with the delicate white and yellow flowers of the Japanese Honeysuckle vine.  It’s considered an invasive species, so gardeners and conservationists don’t like it, but it is pretty common, so chances are there’s a vine or two near you.  The flowers come in pairs, and you’ll want to pluck them right at their base, where the nectar is.  Look for freshly opened flowers, and avoid or pick out the leaves, stems, and berries.

Honeysuckle Iced Tea / The View From Great Island

The tea is made by pouring scalding water over the blossoms, and letting it cool at room temperature.  Then you can chill your infusion in the refrigerator.  I left mine overnight before straining it through a coffee filter.

Honeysuckle Iced Tea 2

The finished tea has a lovely pale celadon color, a light floral scent, and a surprisingly sweet flavor.    Pour over ice, and add a sprig of mint.   Whatever you do, though, don’t add honey before tasting your tea — it’s incredibly sweet all by itself.  You might want a squeeze of lemon if you don’t like sweet tea.

Honeysuckle Iced Tea / The View from Great Island

Honeysuckle Iced Tea

Yield: serves 2


  • about 2 cups honeysuckle blossoms
  • fresh mint sprigs
  • a few honeysuckle blossoms


  1. Pluck the blossoms from the honeysuckle vine. Discard any leaves or green parts. Try to take the freshly opened flowers, and even the buds that are about to open. Put them in a pitcher or mason jar.
  2. Cover with about 2 1/2 cups water that has been heated to just boiling. Give it a good stir and let steep at room temperature for several hours. Then refrigerate overnight.
  3. Strain the tea through a fine mesh strainer, cheesecloth, or a coffee filter. The coffee filter will yield a crystal clear tea.
  4. Serve cold over ice with a mint sprig and a few blossoms for garnish.

Honeysuckle Iced Tea / The View from Great Island



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25 Responses to Minimal Monday: Honeysuckle Iced Tea

  1. Wendy says:

    Mmmm….this looks divine! A refreshing treat for a hot summer day! Can’t wait to try it! Thank you for sharing the magic!

  2. Jason Motley says:

    I know this is a late post but I just found this. I’d like your thoughts on where I went wrong. My tea came out rather bitter. I don’t want to add anything to it and I’m not a person that likes to add sugar to tea. Any ideas?

  3. With honeysuckle tea currently in the spotlights for it’s effectiveness against flu, it’s great to come across such a nice recipe. The pics look amazing. Out of all the iced tea recipes that I have come across this is one that I have to try ;)

  4. Helen Mcconnell says:

    Can you dry the flowers for storage? I wonder if they will still taste the same. I have a massive amount if Honeysuckle that covers my whole backyard fence, can’t wait to try this:)

  5. […] Honeysuckle Iced Tea, from The View from Great Island […]

  6. Bonnie Eng says:

    Wow, your pictures are soooo beautify! I’m just back from Hawaii this week…this reminds me of Pikake (Jasmine Flower) Iced Tea…love this!! =)

  7. Sue! This brings back so many memories! We used to live on this road growing up that was lined with honeysuckle trees. Everyday in the summer we would go ride bikes and pick the honeysuckes to suck. It was so much fun and makes me smile thinking about it! This tea looks delicious

  8. Joanne says:

    When I was in elementary school, my friends and I used to eat the honey drops from the honeysuckle in the schoolyard. Good memories. I’m sure it is such a lovely note of flavor in this iced tea!

  9. I’m headed over to your house, Sue! I adore the scent and flavor of honeysuckle as it brings back those early childhood food memories and of springtime. There’s nothing else quite like it. Perhaps, with your tea, you have an answer for your ice cream? I think a honeysuckle tea sherbet (granita) or ice cream (gelato?) would be lovely!

  10. cheri says:

    What a refreshing looking tea, was not aware that honey-suckle was edible. Love the way they smell so I can only imagine how wonderful the taste must be.

  11. What a refreshing tea, the honeysuckle must add such a nice flavor!

  12. Hi Sue, thanks for posting this – I am totally fascinated! Japanese honeysuckle came up on my radar last year, when I came across a few organic cosmetic brands that were using Japanese honeysuckle extract as a preservative. I don’t know anyone who has a vine but will look for it the next time I go to the garden centre.

    Your honeysuckle tea is reminds me of elderflower cordial which is very popular in Sweden. My husband told me of how his grandmother would pick bundles of elderflowers from the tree in her yard and boil it in sugar syrup to create the cordial. It is an incredibly refreshing drink, especially in the summer time.

    • Sue says:

      This is really opening up my mind to different ways to eat and drink. The cordial sounds great, is it alcoholic? I know St Germain is made from elderflower, can you imagine a honeysuckle liquor? Now I have to check that out!

      • No, the elderflower cordial is not alcoholic. We buy ours at Ikea – not sure if the Ikea stores in the U.S. stock the same foods as in Canada. I’ve also seen elderflower cordial at delicatessens that specialize in Northern and Eastern European foods. I have heard of St. Germain but have yet to taste it – I must try and find it, I’m sure it would make an excellent cocktail!

  13. I want to come and sit on your front porch Sue! This is so beautiful, I’m not sure I could drink it. I think I’d just want to sit and stare at it :)

  14. I had no idea that honeysuckle was edible. But as it is, what a lovely idea to make a tea with it. Aren’t the flowers beautiful?

    • Sue says:

      You know, the more I learn, the more things ARE edible, it makes sense, really. It’s hard to believe those little flowers pack such a sweet punch!

  15. Lovely tea Sue! This brought back so many memories. As a child, I remember pulling the green stem out from the back of the flower and tasting the nectar from those lovely honeysuckle vines! A sweet memory indeed :)

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