Lilac Simple Syrup

Lilac simple syrup in a glass jar with lilacs on a table

The Spruce Eats / S&C Design Studios

Prep: 60 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Steep: 8 hrs
Total: 9 hrs 15 mins
Servings: 8 to 16 servings
Yield: 2 cups
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
98 Calories
0g Fat
25g Carbs
0g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 16
Amount per serving
Calories 98
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 2mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 25g 9%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 25g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 1mg 5%
Calcium 12mg 1%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 18mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Lilacs have many uses in the kitchen and bar. It's common to use the tiny flowers for homemade jelly, but have you tried lilac simple syrup? It's absolutely delicious, easy to make at home, and a fantastic way to integrate the unique taste of lilacs into drinks. 

The flavor of the syrup is a dark floral—almost lavender-like but distinctly lilac. It's lovely to mix into lemonade and other light beverages, offering a fragrant taste of spring from your backyard. While the syrup looks brown in the bottle, it creates drinks that have a soft purple color.

This lilac syrup is just as easy as any other simple syrup. It takes extra time to prepare the florets and steep the syrup, so this recipe is for a double batch that creates 2 cups of syrup. Since lilacs are only around for a short time each year, it's best to take advantage of the moment.


  • 4 cups fresh lilac florets

  • 2 cups sugar

  • 2 cups water

Steps to Make It

Note: While there are many steps in this recipe, it is broken into workable categories to help you better plan and prepare.

Prepare the Florets

The first step is to gather the flower bunches, and remove the florets. This is foraging at its most fragrant, and the best-smelling task in the kitchen.

Each lilac variety will have a slightly different taste. If you have options available, give the flowers a quick nibble to see which you enjoy best. Often, you'll find the purple varieties are more flavorful than white lilacs.

  1. Once you have chosen the lilac bush, look for flowers that are fresh and in full bloom. Cut a few bunches, moving around the plant so you don't take too many flowers from one spot. Gather more blooms than you think you'll need; 3 large branches of flowers will yield around 4 cups of florets.

  2. Remove the tiny florets from each bunch: Grab the flower (or a small bunch) and pull it from the stem. Make sure to only save the purple floret as the tiny green stems can make the syrup bitter.

  3. Place the florets in a fine-mesh strainer. Rinse under cold water to remove dust and debris.

Make Lilac Syrup

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Lilac florets used to make a DIY lilac simple syrup

    The Spruce Eats / S&C Design Studios

  2. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water over medium heat. Bring to a boil while stirring until all of the sugar has dissolved.

  3. Add the lilac florets, stir gently, and cover. Reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes.

    Simmer lilac florets in a homemade simple syrup

    The Spruce Eats / S&C Design Studios

  4. Remove the pan from the heat, keep it covered, and wait. As it cools and rests, the lilacs will add their sweet flavor to the syrup. The time it takes to steep will depend on the variety of lilacs and how intense you want the flavor. Since it is a delicate flower, it will take 3 to 8 hours to fully infuse.

    Lilac syrup in an uncovered pot steeping

    The Spruce Eats / S&C Design Studios

  5. Pour the syrup into a fine-mesh strainer resting on a large bowl. Allow it to sit for a few minutes and shake it occasionally so more of the syrup filters through the flowers and drips into the bowl.

    Lilac flowers strained from finished lilac syrup

    The Spruce Eats / S&C Design Studios

  6. After straining, pour the finished lilac syrup into a glass container with a tight-sealing lid. Store it in the refrigerator, where it should keep for a week or two.

  7. Use the lilac syrup in your favorite drinks and enjoy.

    Lilac Lemon Drop Martini with lilac simple syrup and lemon garnish

    The Spruce Eats / S&C Design Studios


  • Taste test your syrup regularly. After three hours, it will develop a soft flavor; if you let it steep for eight hours, it will be perfect. The syrup should have a floral intensity that will become balanced once it's added to drinks, neither overpowering nor disappearing against the other ingredients.
  • Lilac flowers are tiny, and the heat creates even smaller particles. You may need to strain it twice to remove every bit of lilac. While cheesecloth is often a good alternative, it's a messy, sticky endeavor with syrup, so you may want to avoid using it.

Using Lilac Syrup

Lilac syrup works wonders in lightly flavored beverages and pairs particularly well with lemon and strawberry. The drinks can be as simple as adding 1 or 2 ounces to ginger ale or tonic water or even sparkling wine.

A favorite recipe is a simple lilac lemonade: Use this flavored syrup in a basic homemade lemonade recipe (1 part each syrup and lemon juice to 2 parts water). Enjoy the lemonade as is, or use it to make a lilac shandy with your favorite beer. You can also use it to mix up a lilac lemon drop martini.

Take it a step further and use the syrup to make a fantastic crème de lilac liqueur: Use vodka as the base and sweeten it with the syrup to suit your taste, similar to homemade amaretto. A lilac cordial can be made in the same manner as lime cordial, by adding citric and tartaric acids as well as a little more water to the syrup.

Whatever you mix up with the lilac syrup, it's best when enjoyed while relaxing on the patio or in the garden. Be sure to share it with friends (especially if you foraged their lilacs)!

How to Store Lilac Simple Syrup

  • Refrigerate the lilac simple syrup in a well-sealed jar or airtight container for about two weeks. Check for spoilage before using.
  • Lilac simple syrup can be stored longer in an airtight container in the freezer (leave plenty of headspace to allow for expansion if using glass), or for individual servings, you can also put in ice cube trays and freeze. The syrup will be good for up to six months.
  • For even longer storage, consider canning the simple syrup; it will last up to one year.

How to know if the simple syrup has gone bad?

Simple syrup should have a clear appearance. If the simple syrup starts getting cloudy looking, that is your first sign it's going bad. It will eventually get a moldy look as it further breaks down.