Craft drink expert Emily Han creates unique flavors in Wild Drinks and Cocktails(Fair Winds Press, 2015). Han teaches you techniques you need to know to craft your own infused waters, syrups, vinegar drinks, spirits, wines and sodas — each with powerful health benefits and a sentimental nod to drinks of another era. In this excerpt you will learn a delicious recipe for honey suckle syrup that can be added to flavor your favorite cocktail.
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Honeysuckle, also known as woodbine (Lonicera Japonica), sports sweetly scented flowers that aren’t just pretty: they’re also powerfully anti-viral and antibacterial. Used in China for centuries to help fight colds and flu, the flowers can soothe an inflamed sore throat and cool down an overheated body on a scorching summer day. Try adding a splash of this delicately flavored syrup to lemonade, fizzy water, Champagne, or hot tea, or drizzle it on fresh berries. (I recommend using sugar, not honey, in this recipe, because honey can overwhelm honeysuckle’s flavor. If you do want to try it, though, choose a mild varietal, such as a light clover honey or your local wildflower honey.)
Honeysuckle Syrup Recipe
• 1 cup fresh honeysuckle flowers or 1⁄2 cup dried
• 1 1⁄4 cups water
• About 1 cup sugar
1. Gently shake the honeysuckle flowers to remove any dirt or insects.
2. Separate the flowers from the stems and discard any leaves and berries, which can be poisonous in large amounts.
3. Place the flowers in a heat-proof ceramic or glass container.
4. Bring the water to a boil. Pour it over the flowers and cover the container.
5. Let the mixture stand at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours.
6. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer; discard the solids.
7. Measure the liquid; you should have about 1 cup.
8. Combine the liquid and an equal volume of sugar (about 1 cup) in a saucepan.
9. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
10. Simmer for another minute.
11. Remove from the heat and let cool. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
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Reprinted with permission from Wild Drinks and Cocktails, by Emily Han and published by Fair Winds Press, 2015.