Lavender Light Me Up

IMG_5135Well, it’s certainly been way too long since I shared a cocktail recipe (ahem, or anything) here! It’s high time we said cheers and there is no better time for a refreshing, potent, and well-balanced drink like the lemonade pictured here, but now. My amazing sestra (that means sister in Ukraine; if you watch Orphan Black, the best show on television right now, you’ll know what I’m referring to) and I invented it together.

She and lavender are having a major moment and she simply can’t get enough of the fragrant light-hued purple flower. At Della Fattoria, our favorite bakery in our hometown, Petaluma, they serve the most delicious lavender lemonade. (They also have a lavender latte that’s pretty tasty.) Last summer when we were at a street festival, I got to talking with the Della team and they said that they roasted the lavender buds before making a simple syrup to use in the lemonade. The roasting technique results in a rich pink color.

When a friend recently presented my sestra with a thick bouquet of freshly cut lavender stems, all she wanted to do was make the lemonade. There wasn’t much time, we were heading to the local lake in a few minutes, so instead of roasting the lavender, we toasted it in a sautĂ© pan. However, the key to making a good lavender syrup is to let the flower buds steep in dissolved sugar and water for several hours.

This recipe was absolutely perfect with bourbon, but gin or vodka could work equally well. We used homemade lemonade (which ironically my mom described as tasting “just like crystal light,”) however any not-too-sweet lemonade is fine.

IMG_5133Lavender Light Me Up
From Tricia Sweeney

2 ounces bourbon (we used Bulliet)
1/2 ounce lavender simple syrup (recipe below)
4-6 ounces lemonade
Lavender sprig, optional for garnish

  1. Fill a stemless wine glass half way with ice.
  2. Add bourbon, syrup, and top with lemonade.
  3. Stir well to combine, garnish with a lavender sprig, and enjoy!

Makes 1 cocktail.

Lavender Simple Syrup

1/4 heaping lavender buds
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

  1. Toast the lavender buds in a skillet over medium heat until fragrant, stirring to ensure they don’t burn, about 4 minutes.
  2. Place the lavender, sugar, and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat and stir to ensure that sugar is dissolved. Let boil for one minute.
  3. Remove from heat and set aside to steep at room temperature for 4-8 hours.
  4. Pour the syrup through a fine mesh strainer into a pretty container. Use to favor the aforementioned cocktail or other beverage. Store at room temperature for 2 weeks.

Makes about 2 cups.

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