How To Make Honey Whiskey at Home (Simple Guide)

How To Make Honey Whiskey

Honey and whiskey are a true cocktail power couple. Honey provides a mellow sweetness tempering the whiskey’s edge, and the whiskey brings out the honey’s aromas and smoothness.

Classic cocktails such as the Mint Julep when you replace the bourbon with honey whiskey or Hot Toddy are excellent examples of how well these two ingredients work together.

Although commercial options such as Jack Daniel’s, Jim Beam, and Wild Turkey are available, they’ll never beat the taste of real honey.

You might have had a thought, how do I make honey whiskey?

Making honey whiskey is much easier than you think, and you don’t need to break the law to distill it at home, either. Combining honey with water, letting it simmer for five minutes and cool down, and shaking it with your favorite whiskey is as simple as it gets.

We’ll briefly examine the history of honey whiskey before jumping and offering you a step-by-step recipe to make your honey whiskey.

A Quick Distillation Disclaimer

It is federally illegal to distill alcoholic beverages at home for consumption or sale without a Federal Distilled Spirits Permit. If you produce fuel alcohol, you’ll need a Federal Fuel Alcohol Permit to produce it legally.

According to federal law, stills of any size are legal to own if you are not using them or intend to use them to produce alcohol. You may use a still to distill, filter, or purify water (but that’s a lot of work) or produce products such as essential oils.

If your process does not involve distilling alcohol, you may still use your still(s). You can read about the federal statutes regarding distillation equipment here.

We are offering you this information because recipes on the web teach you how to distill your honey whiskey, and we would like you to be safe and stay within the law.

How To Make Honey Whiskey

How To Make Honey Whiskey

Remember, it is illegal in the United States to distill alcohol for either personal consumption or sale without the relevant Federal and State licenses.

Infusing whiskey with honey is a simple process; you do not even need expensive or fancy equipment to start the process.

Making Honey Whiskey at Home

First, mixing honey directly with your whiskey will not work as well as you’d think. But, by making a basic honey syrup, it will blend seamlessly into the whiskey and infuse it with its delicious aromas and taste.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 ½ cups of bourbon
  • ⅔ cup of honey
  • ½ cup of water
  • 32 oz mason jar or a container of your choice


Combine the honey and water in a saucepan and let it simmer over medium heat.

Frequently stir the syrup to ensure everything is combined, and the water combines effectively with the honey. This will take around five minutes.

Let your syrup cool down.

Add your whiskey and honey syrup to the mason jar or your chosen container, and shake it to combine.

There you have it. Easy peasy. You can serve your honeyed whiskey immediately or allow it to sit for a day or two—the taste just gets better after giving it a rest.

Making Honey Whiskey the Distiller’s Way

This is probably how a registered distillery would have produced honey whiskey. Still, it is an expensive way of producing honey whiskey.

They’ll use one gallon of honey of their choice, add it to 2 ½ gallons of water heated to 160ºF and dissolve the honey.

They’ll add the rest of the water, at room temperature, to the honey-and-water mixture. This whole mixture will be cooled down to 70ºF.

The mixture needs to be aerated to be poured back and forth between two large containers. The distiller will add their chosen yeast and a yeast nutrient to kick off the fermentation process.

Fermentation will take around two weeks or sometimes a little bit longer, and the fermented mixture is left to settle between 10 and 14 days.

The settled mixture is then added to the still to retrieve the honey whiskey. The head and tail cuts will be discarded—just like normal whiskey—because it is poisonous.

Aging will take in oak barrels or add toasted oak chips to the bottles (strained before serving).

Important note

Remember, distilling alcohol at home without the proper licenses is a criminal offense and can lead to prosecution.

What Is Honey Whiskey?

What Is Honey Whiskey?

Whiskey is governed by various rules depending on where in the world you are that determine what can or cannot be added to whiskey.

Generally, honey whiskey is infused with honey to create a liqueur—the warmth of the whiskey is tempered by the added sweetness of the honey.

According to legend, the McKinnon clan in Scotland made the first honey whiskey, but the recipe did not have a name. Honey whiskey has been around for quite a long time but was officially introduced in the 1880s when Drambuie was born.

The trademarked name, Drambuie, was registered in 1893. When John Ross passed away in 1893, his widow, Eleanor, was obligated to sell the recipe to another McKinnon family to cover her children’s educational costs.

Scottish and E.U. laws state that only water and caramel coloring may be added to Scotch whisky; other additives added to the whisky may not be called whiskey.

Drambuie and any other whisk(e)y which contains an additive such as honey is thus regarded as a liqueur. You’ll find an excellent roundup of commercial honey whiskeys here if you are in a pinch and don’t have time to make your own.


Making honey whiskey at home is as easy as warming some honey and water in a pot or a pan, letting it cool down, and shaking it with your favorite whiskey to produce honey.

While distilling honey whiskey at home is illegal, you can still get the real deal by following our recipe.