Bergamot Honey Syrup | Hitchhiking to Heaven

Bergamot Honey Syrup

Bergamot Honey Syrup | Hitchhiking to Heaven

A couple weeks ago, I got hold of my very first bergamots. Is it worth noting that spell check wants me to replace “bergamots” with “flabbergasts”?  Bergamots are, in many ways, a flabbergasty citrus fruit. They are astonishingly fragrant. (You probably already know they’re responsible for the unique scent and flavor of Earl Grey tea.) They also have an eye-opening flavor, very acidic, though the five small fruits given to me were not nearly as bitter as I expected.

The short story of the bergamot is that it’s a variety of sour orange, most commonly grown in Italy. (I’ve met only one person who has a tree here in Northern California. Happily, she is a very generous neighbor.) You can get lots more bergamot story — including links to bergamot recipes and an explanation of how the bergamot name is often given to the “wrong” fruit in France — in David Lebovitz’s post, What Is a Bergamot?

I zested and juiced most of the fruit to make bergamot honey syrup. (I also air dried some peels to use later.) I imagine this syrup could be put to great use in cocktails and baked goods, but I’ve mostly been enjoying it in my homemade ginger tea. And while we’re here, I’d like to show you my tea mug . . .

Bergamot Honey Syrup | Hitchhiking to Heaven

For a long time, it bugged me, this mug. I am an optimistic person by nature, but the slogan “expect the best” put me on edge. I’m as much perfectionist as optimist and I’ve learned that always having the highest expectations, the most stringent standards, sets me up for needless stress and disappointment. Not what I want from my mug first thing in the morning. Most of the time, I prefer a slogan like “Set your intentions, do your work, and accept what comes” even though I know it’s not really mug appropriate.

I was relieved when I dropped the mug in the sink and the handle snapped off. I thought, “That’s what comes of expecting the best. Now I can get rid of this stupid thing.” But it was such a clean break that it seemed wasteful to throw it out. I asked Stewart to glue the handle back on and he very kindly did so, coming back later to tell me that it hadn’t worked well. The glue swelled so much that, though the handle holds fast, the repair is awkward, anything but seamless. Expect the best, but accept what is. Perfect.

Bergamot Honey Syrup

3 cups filtered water
2 cups wildflower honey
2 bergamots, zested and juiced
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Wash, zest, and juice the bergamots. Strain the bergamot juice and set it aside. Combine the water, honey, and bergamot zest in a medium, heavy-bottomed sauce pot. Simmer until thickened, 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. (Remember that the syrup will continue to thicken as it cools.) Remove from heat, skim any foam, and strain out the zest. Stir in the fresh bergamot and lemon juices. Allow to cool, then transfer to a bottle or jar for storage in the fridge. My yield was slightly less than a quart.

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  • Reply Dawn April 8, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    As much as I’m more than slightly envious of your bergamot honey syrup, I LOVE to story of the mug – that’s awesome!

    • Reply Shae April 24, 2013 at 7:15 am

      Thank you, Dawn. That darned mug has a sharp edge on it that cut my finger the other day, but still I can’t throw it out!

  • Reply meg- grow and resist April 9, 2013 at 6:44 am

    Sounds great! And, I love the mug story. Perfect Shae, really perfect!

    • Reply Shae April 24, 2013 at 7:16 am

      Meg, you’re sweet! Thank you! So glad to get to witness another spring in your garden, BTW.

  • Reply Ellen Roggemann April 9, 2013 at 11:00 am

    Shae, can’t wait to try this! We have bergamot trees up here in Petaluma, but I haven’t tried preserving them yet. If you ever need some more fruit…

    • Reply Shae April 24, 2013 at 7:17 am

      Really, really, I could get bergamot from you guys? You’ll hear from me! Thanks, Ellen!

  • Reply Kate @ Snowflake Kitchen April 9, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    Generous neighbors are the best!

    • Reply Shae April 24, 2013 at 7:18 am

      Yes they are! Hi, Kate. :-)

  • Reply Links: Biscuits, Jammy Sweet Rolls, and Homemade Sodas + Winners - Food in Jars | Food in Jars April 14, 2013 at 9:39 pm

    […] One more thing for your seltzer! Bergamot honey syrup. […]

  • Reply Alanna {The Bojon Gourmet} April 15, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    Great story, and lucky you and your neighbor! This syrup sounds incredible. I’m a huge bergamot fan, and was thrilled to get my hands on some fresh ones from Berkeley Bowl earlier this year. I think they’re out now, but I’ll definitely make this syrup next year (and shake it with gin to make a Bergamot Bee’s Knees)! Glad to have found your site through Food in Jars. :)

    • Reply Shae April 24, 2013 at 7:20 am

      Oh, the Berkeley Bowl! It’s where I go when I can’t find something anywhere else. Their citrus seems to go on for miles in wintertime. I’m glad you visited, Alanna. I look forward to checking out your blog, too.

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