Lilac Iced Coffee

Every spring I wait with great anticipation for the couple of weeks a year when lilacs are in bloom, seeing these vibrant pops of purple in amongst the lush greens of spring brings me so much joy! And I cannot walk past a lilac tree or shrub without burying my nose in the flowers, inhaling their delightful romantic and floral scent.

Since lilac season is so fleeting, I like to make the most of them by making a simple lilac syrup, infusing them into sugar for baking, and infusing them into oat milk or coconut cream for desserts. The taste of lilac is similar to its scent, although it is much less strong, and the floral flavour lends itself perfectly to this iced coffee recipe. 

If you are lucky enough to have a garden with a lilac shrub, then you won't need to go far to find some lilac flowers to gather! Lilacs often escape from gardens and can be found in wilder, more overgrown spaces too, such as in woodlands and hedgerows, down country paths, roadsides and parcels of waste land. Please pick responsibly and make sure you have definitely found lilacs before using them in a recipe.

This recipe is based on my recipe for honeysuckle iced coffee, which you can find alongside other gorgeous recipes in Summer Foraging, my foraging zine! This zine highlights my favourite summer flowers and herbs, with creative ways to infuse them into summery sweet treats, drinks and desserts. The zine will be on sale soon and you can join the newsletter to be the first to know when it’s released!

[[ recipeID=recipe-8lvc9fc0v, title=Lilac iced coffee ]]

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Lilac iced coffee

Servings: 1

Keywords: Lilac, Lilac recipe, Foraging, Iced coffee

  • Prep Time: 3 hours 0 mins
  • Cook Time: 5 mins
  • Total Time: 3 hours 5 mins




For the lilac iced coffee:

  • 150 ml milk or plant milk (I've used oat milk)
  • 1/4 cup lilac flowers, green stems removed, approx. 6g
  • 1 tsp lilac infused brown sugar*
  • 2 tsp instant coffee granules (I've used decaf)
  • 2 tbsp hot water
  • Ice cubes

For the lilac infused brown sugar:

  • 150g soft light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup lilac flowers, green stems removed, approx. 12g


To make the lilac infused sugar:

  1. Massage the lilac flowers into the brown sugar and decant into a clean, sterilised jar. 
  2. Shake every day for a week, then you can remove the flowers using a sieve that has larger holes, or a colander that has smaller holes. 
  3. The first couple of days the lilac sugar might smell a little funky but don't worry that smell will dissipate and you will be a left with a gorgeous, fragrant lilac sugar!

To make the lilac iced coffee:

  1. Add 150ml oat milk to a bowl, or pour the milk into the glass you will be using for the iced coffee and use that a measure, making sure to leave a little room for the ice cubes and coffee. 
  2. Mix in the lilac flowers and leave to infuse for a few hours in the fridge, or overnight. The longer you infuse, the more bitter it may become. I have infused lilacs overnight in oat milk and have found the flavour pleasant, but everyone's different! 
  3. Make a strong coffee shot by mixing the instant coffee, brown sugar and hot water. Leave to cool slightly, then if you have one, froth the coffee mixture with a handheld milk frother. 
  4. Strain the oat milk and froth with a handheld frother or whisk, again, optional but lovely! Pour over ice and then add the coffee, enjoy how it swirls together, sprinkle with extra lilac flowers and sip in the sunshine. 


*You can also use plain brown sugar, but every year I like to make a little batch of lilac infused sugar to add to recipes. When making lilac drinks and desserts, I like to double up the lilac infusions, infusing both milk and sugar with lilacs as lilacs have such a delicate flavour. If you are just using lilac-infused milk, try the infused milk after a few hours and if the flavour isn't strong enough, add some more lilacs.