A New Southern Tradition
Story & Photography by Kerry Guice
If you live in the South, you probably know what honeysuckle is. If you were born and raised in the South, you know what to do with that honeysuckle! So many of my childhood memories include spending my warm, lazy summer days with the neighborhood kids, picking the delicate blossoms off the vine, pricking the bottom with your thumb and forefinger, and carefully pulling the stamen out from the bottom. When that bubble of nectar appeared, you quickly licked it up. That sweet taste and the fragrant scent of the vines signal that another Arkansas summer is here.
I used to daydream of having a whole jar full of honeysuckle nectar, because one drop was never enough! After some experimenting in the kitchen, I’ve discovered the next best thing— honeysuckle simple syrup. It’s made with wild honeysuckle tea, sugar and honey to help boost that floral sweetness. It will keep in your refrigerator for at least a month. That means that even after the last honeysuckle bloom fades away, you can still help the kids set up a late summer lemonade stand and share this twist on a nostalgic Southern summer treat. It’s the perfect way to relive those childhood days when summer seemed to last forever.
Makes six servings
Juice of 10 lemons (1 cup)
4 cups ice water
HONEYSUCKLE SIMPLE SYRUP
2 loose cups honeysuckle blossoms, ranging from white to yellow, no leaves or stems
2 cups steaming hot water
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons honey
For the simple syrup, collect 2 loose cups of blossoms in a clean bowl. Carefully pour 2 cups of steaming hot water over the flowers, cover, and keep in refrigerator overnight. Strain the honeysuckle “tea” through a fine sieve or cheesecloth (discarding wilted blooms), and place in saucepan with 2 cups of sugar and 2 tablespoons honey. Bring to a boil and let reduce until mixture has thickened and sugar is dissolved, stirring often. Mixture will further thicken as it cools.
To make lemonade, combine 1 cup lemon juice, 4 cups ice water and 1 cup Honeysuckle Simple Syrup. Stir to combine. Serve over ice, garnished with a honeysuckle blossom.
*HONEYSUCKLE SYRUP CAN BE STORED IN AN AIRTIGHT JAR IN THE REFRIGERATOR FOR UP TO A MONTH. IT’S GREAT FOR FLAVORING ICED TEA, SLICED FRUIT, PANCAKES OR COCKTAILS!
Lemonade Stand Tips
Don't forget to grab plenty of change
Extra ice is a must on hot days
Get a container with a tap to make pouring easy for small hands
Invite neighbors, friends and family ahead of time
Involve your kids in the entire process