I had such fun with these Homemade Lavender and Rose Simple Syrups yesterday. A basic simple syrup is just equal parts sugar dissolved in water, and it’s used to sweeten drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, and sometimes it’s used in desserts, too.
But the cool thing is that you can flavor them with just about anything, from herbs, fruits and spices, to almost anything you can think of.
These florals just captivated my imagination. The scents and the colors of flowers are familiar to all of us, but these syrups give you a change to experience their flavors as well. I have lots of lavender growing in the backyard, but no roses, so part of my day was spent tracking down some suitable petals.
I finally called my friend Judith and she graciously lent me a few of her gorgeous lavender roses for this project. Just make sure whatever plants you use haven’t been sprayed with pesticides. Even if you don’t have a garden, roses should be pretty easy to beg, borrow or steal. If you can’t find lavender buds, you can buy them here.
The process is, well, simple! You dissolve the sugar into the water on the stove, along with whatever you want to infuse for flavor, like lemon zest, vanilla, cinnamon, etc. You can use simple syrups in desserts, and you can turn them into amazing homemade sodas, but I made mine especially for the cocktail hour. I’m posting this Friday. Don’t miss it!
Neither of these floral flavors is popular in America; our palates just aren’t used to them (yet!) but lavender is a classic French ingredient, and rose is common in Middle Eastern desserts. Both should be used sparingly, which is why these syrups are nice. They add a floral note without being overpowering.
Lavender Simple Syrup
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
3 Tbsp lavender buds, rinsed (remove the buds from the stems before they flower)
tiny touch of violet gel food coloring (optional)
- In a small saucepan heat the water, sugar, and lavender until it comes to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Simmer gently for 5 minutes. Depending on the color of your lavender, you may or may not get a pale lavender shade to your syrup. If you want to bump up the color, add a TINY bit of gel paste food coloring. (use a toothpick)
- Let cool and then strain through cheesecloth into a jar or bottle with a tight fitting lid.
- Refrigerate until ready to use. It will keep for a month in the fridge.
Note: I stored my syrups in jars because I liked the look, but it would be even more convenient to transfer them to bottles for easy pouring later.
Rose Simple Syrup
1 cup water
1/2 cup Rose Water (food grade, not the kind for cosmetic use)
1 cup sugar
1 heaping cup rose petals, rinsed (the darker your petals, the more color you will get)
- Heat the water, rose water, sugar and rose petals in a small saucepan until it comes to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Simmer gently for 5 minutes.
- Let the liquid cool, then strain into a jar or bottle with a tight fitting lid.
- Refrigerate until ready to use. It will keep for a month.
If you want to experiment with simple syrups, the basic formula is a one to one sugar and water ratio, although you can make a thinner syrup with more water. Just heat the two in a small saucepan until the sugar dissolves. The more flavoring agent you use, and the longer you let it steep, the stronger it will be. They keep for about a month in the fridge. While they’re mostly useful for drinks, you can use them to flavor endless things like cakes, frostings, etc.
Don’t forget to come back on It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere Friday to see what I make with these. Don’t know if I’m using one or both, I haven’t decided yet…