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Hibiscus Simple Syrup

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Last Updated on January 26, 2024 by Leah Hall

A flowery hibiscus simple syrup perfect for cocktails!


In the summer, we do lots of drinking on the patio by our swimming pool. We love to entertain out by the pool, sipping on cocktails and enjoying a little socializing with friends. Of course any good party has to have good decor, and we always decorate our pool deck with lots of beautiful hibiscus plants which give the pool deck a tropical feel with lots of beautiful flowers. Try our Pineapple Aperol Spritz if you want a porch pounder!


Hibiscus Simple Syrup

Of course these beautiful flowers also can be used to make a delicious hibiscus simple syrup. You can use Hibiscus Tea bags if you don’t have flowers that can be used in cocktails or sodas. We prefer to use dried petals in this recipe, as it is easier to work with, and the color and flavor is more intense than using fresh petals.

Red Hibiscus syrup in a glass jar with red Hibiscus flower and wooden bowl of sugar

You can use fresh petals, but know that the infusion time is more, as is the color will be hit or miss, with it either being lighter or darker depending on what color petal you use. We used dried petals, as it’s easier to control the level of color, flavor and more!


This syrup is a great way to add hibiscus flavor using a simple syrup recipe into a delicious drink recipe as well as adding vibrant color to new recipes and homemade drinks, too!


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How to Make Hibiscus Simple Syrup?

This simple syrup is easy to make, but takes some time if you want to dry your own flower petals before making the hibiscus simple syrup.  It is also important to note that the color of the syrup can vary greatly depending on the color of the flowers used to make the syrup. We tried some blood red flowers and our syrup came out almost black!


The hibiscus syrup is sweet (duh, simple syrup) but with a floral cranberry note, berries and almost a citrusy bite from the dried hibiscus petals. When used in drinks it can bring a subtle tangy flavor and a bold rich color. Great in craft cocktails and mocktails alike.


Right away when infusing the hibiscus starts to cast a red color in the water almost immediately when adding the petals.  Hibiscus has been used with beets in natural food dye and it is such a bright red color.

Red Hibiscus syrup in a glass jar with red Hibiscus flower and wooden bowl of sugar

Simply combine a cup of sugar and a cup of water in a saucepan over medium heat. Heat the syrup 5-10 minutes until it just boils, stirring until the sugar dissolves, then pull off the heat. Add the dried hibiscus petals and steep for at least 15 minutes. This was our desired color in that time frame, but you can go as long as an hour if you want a richer and more flavorful syrup with a darker color.


Remove the dried flowers by pouring through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a glass bottle or glass jar. Cool to room temperature, then store in the refrigerator. Make this in small batches unless you are making a lot for the prettiest pink cocktails at a party.


How Do You Store Hibiscus Syrup?

Once the petals are strained out, we store it either in a mason jar or a swing top bottle. The swing top bottles have a stopper to keep the syrup air tight, and it does keep longer than even in a mason jar. It stays well in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.

What Is Hibiscus?

Hibiscus is a flower originating from Asia and the Pacific Islands.They grow in tropical and semi-tropical locals, although here in Nebraska we can grow them, as long as we bring them inside in the winter.


It can also be known as Jamaican Sorrel. Sorrel is the Jamaican name for a hibiscus flower known as the Roselle.


The flowers are dried and made into tea, which can be steeped as hot tea, or iced tea.


Where To Find Dried Hibiscus

Hibiscus can usually be found in teabags at grocery stores. We bought a big bag of dried petals, and they will keep for a long time, if they are sealed. You may not be able to find this at your local grocery store, but can be found at a health food store or online. You can also dry your own whole flowers if you grow hibiscus, but plan ahead for this time consuming project.

Red Hibiscus syrup in a glass jar with red Hibiscus flower and wooden bowl of sugar

Can Simple Syrups go bad?

They can get moldy if they sit too long. We encourage you to store it in the fridge in an airtight container but for no more than two weeks. We actually have a whole shelf of simple syrups in our fridge at any given time!


Try some more red and pink cocktails with our Red & Pink Valentine’s Day Cocktails!

red syrup in a jar with a red flower and wooden bowl of sugar

What Do You Use Hibiscus Simple Syrup For?

  • Sodas – Simple sodas can be made with a tablespoon of the syrup over ice with sparkling water or soda water (Italian sodas). Great as a non-alcoholic drink. 
  • Cocktails – a great addition to cocktails instead of basic simple syrup for a floral flavor, or in tropical cocktails. Think fun hibiscus cocktails like hibiscus margaritas, hibiscus mojito, Gin & Tonic, or our Hibiscus Salty Dog.
  • Dessert – You can use this homemade hibiscus syrup for ice creams and dessert, either in the recipe or drizzled on top.
  • Sweetener – Stir into iced tea or lemonade for a touch of sweetness and tart flavor.
  • Ice Cubes – Freeze as ice cubes in a favorite drink (cocktails, mocktails and tea alike!)
  • Gifts – Give bottles as gifts to teachers, hostess gifts or Christmas presents! Include a recipe for a pretty cocktail or your favorite ways to use it.
  • Substitute – Use as a sub for grenadine syrup like in a Shirley Temple or other delicious recipes like cocktail, teas and Holiday punches.
  • Other Flavors – If you want to boost this unique recipe in other ways, add some other flavors when making or steeping this recipe: add in a vanilla bean, fresh ginger chunks, star anise. Or, add in a different flower like rose petals for a floral flower combination! You can use other edible flowers like lavender, violet or marigold.
  • Other Sweetener – if you don’t want to use regular granulated sugar, we suggest cane sugar, maple syrup or agave nectar.




Other Homemade Simple Syrups




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Like this recipe? Try these below, too!

Hibiscus syrup gives the classic Salty Dog cocktail a sweet twist!Hibiscus Salty Dog


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Other Flower Simple Syrups

red syrup in a jar with a red flower and wooden bowl of sugar
Yield: 1

Hibiscus Simple Syrup

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

A floral simple syrup, make with hibiscus petals. Make this hibiscus simple syrup for a colorful and sweet addtion to cocktails, mocktails and dessert.


Hibiscus Simple Syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup dried hibiscus petals, any color


Combine water and sugar in a saucepan.

Bring to a boil.

Take off heat and add hibiscus petals, let steep for at least 15 minutes.

Strain out petals.

Store in an airtight container in fridge for up to 1 week.


You can use fresh petals as well, but let there be more time for steeping to leech out the color and flavor.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 94Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 0mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 0gSugar: 25gProtein: 0g

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Thursday 22nd of February 2024

Just made this for the first time and the syrup isn’t very thick. Any suggestions for making it thicker and more syrup like or is typically on the thinner side?

Leah Hall

Thursday 22nd of February 2024

Hi there! The basic nature of simple syrup is that it is thin. Being a 1:1 ratio sugar and water, it's just dissolved sugar. If you want it to be thicker you can make a rich simple syrup, or 2:1, 2 cups sugar to 1 cup water, or you can boil the syrup down a little bit, but if you used a 1:1 it will be on the thinner side. Hope that helps, cheers! Leah


Tuesday 31st of August 2021

Made a beautiful, flavorful syrup, very deep wine-like red in the bottle and a brighter red when poured. The ratio here produces a good flavor and multiplies well. My 4x batch - some for my bar job, some for home - yielded just over 6 cups of syrup.

BONUS: Don't throw out edible flowers after use in syrup - spread across foil to dry, or bake at 180F in 10-min intervals until no longer sticky, and you've got a candied garnish/snack. Candied hibiscus reminds me of fruit leather...


Sunday 22nd of August 2021

Can we use honey instead of sugar?

The Noms

Sunday 22nd of August 2021

You absolutely can! Cheers!

Jessica Sheely

Thursday 27th of May 2021

I tried this recipe two times with hibiscus from my 5year old plant and both times the syrup had absolutely no flavor. I dried the hibiscus thoroughly and followed the directions yesterday. Then today I tried with fresh (not dried) leaves and again, all I have is purple simple syrup with no floral or tart flavor. It is not as dark as pictures above. The plant I have is Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. Any idea what could be wrong? I have a huge plant and am intrigued by these flowers and making syrup and tea.


Sunday 24th of October 2021

@The Noms, the hibiscus “petals” you can buy dried in the store, often in the Latino foods section and sometimes called jamaica (hamayka) or roselle or red sorrel, are from the hibiscus sabdariffa plant. What is most commonly harvested and dried are actually the calyxes - what’s left surrounding the seed pod after the flower fades and falls off. All parts of the plant are edible. I’ve read that all parts of the Hibiscus Rosa sinensis are also edible - leaves, flowers, etc, but as far as tea brewing, etc, I’ve only ever purchased or grown the sabdariffa species. They have pale yellow flowers and make a tart, healthy bright red drink.

The Noms

Saturday 29th of May 2021

Hi Jessica, I wonder if it's just the hibiscus variety that you have. Have you tried to make tea with the dried or fresh petals? If so, does it make a flavor then? I am just as stumped as you, as we have tried the one that we have at home with no issue, as well as other kinds (fresh and dried) and haven't had a problem. I am so sorry I don't have more ideas for you. Leah


Wednesday 2nd of September 2020

I just made this hibiscus syrup from fresh flowers growing on my 15-year old hibiscus plant that spends its summers outdoors and winters indoors at my Canadian home. It is delicious! My flowers were a deep red, but the syrup is a very dark but lovely shade of purple. I used it to flavour a batch of homemade kombucha (along with raspberries) and I can’t wait to taste that in a couple of days once it has been bottled. Thanks for the recipe, and for the comments about being able to use fresh petals. It worked great for me.


Wednesday 9th of September 2020

@The 'Noms., The kombucha was delicious, but a bit too sweet. In order to get the hibiscus flavour, I needed about 200mLs of the syrup for an 3L batch of brew. So I think next time I make the syrup I will use half the amount of sugar. I’m not worried about it not keeping as long, as I will/freeze whatever I don’t use at the time. Have you tried freezing the syrup?

The 'Noms.

Wednesday 2nd of September 2020

Fantastic! I love hearing how everyone has different colored syrup, it's so interesting! Hope you enjoy, and thanks for sharing! Leah

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