Drinking Lilac Two Ways: Lilac Liqueur and Lilac Syrup

My yard has three lilac bushes, and a quick taste test when they started blooming proved that two of them are yucky and bitter. The third one was okay, though, so last Friday I picked the two flower-bunches I could reach, pulled off the blossoms, and gently simmered them with equal parts water and sugar to make a simple syrup.


After my initial batch of syrup I still had enough blossoms left to pack a quart mason jar. So I did that, and added a little bit of sugar, and filled the jar with vodka. After sitting overnight, it had a distinct floral flavor and aroma, but the Mister and I were running off to go bikecamping so I didn’t decant it until Sunday night.

During those two days it acquired rather more, well, I’ll call it vegetal complexity. It’s not bad, but it’s not the overpoweringly floral this-jar-is-trying-to-have-sex-with-my-nose flavor I got with the syrup, either.

I strained out the blossoms, added a bit more sugar, and stuck it on a dark shelf. A few months of patience did wonderful things to last year’s nocino, and the preceding year’s oregon grape jam, so we’ll see how it goes with the lilac. Meanwhile, I think I’ll use the rest of the blossoms for more syrup, or possibly for jelly.


  1. Moredecai wrote:

    Whatever happened to your lilac ligueur? I’ve been thinking about doing this very thing.

  2. erica wrote:

    Ha ha yeah my yucca vodka tastes like a vegetable in all the wrong ways.

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