This spring, I went a little crazy with my herb garden. What started out as 2 herbs, grew to four, and then I added a few more, and then a few more, and then before I knew it, there were 13 colorful little metal pots filled with perky green herbs. Among the herbs were two lavender plants, happily growing and making everything on my tiny deck smell better. Seeing those lavender plants reminded me that a little while back, a I’d been gifted a bag of dried culinary lavender petals. (Thank you, lavender-gifting friend!) I wanted to use the dried petals up before I (hopefully) had a plant full of new lavender flowers to dry out, and that is how my obsession with Lavender Lemonade began. This lemonade is not only delicious, it’s incredibly easy.
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Honestly, I was a little nervous to use lavender in food because, as any avid watcher of The Great British Bakeoff knows, too much lavender can make things go terribly wrong. However, lavender and lemon work well together, and the strong flavor of lemons means that you don’t have to worry about the lavender overwhelming your drink. Instead of taking over, the lavender is subtle compared to the lemons, and gives it a hint of floral. If you want to try this, but no gift-giving, lavender-toting friend has shown up at your door, you can dry out your own lavender flowers, buy it online, or in the spice aisle at your grocery store. You can also try looking in the food aisle at over-stock stores like Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, or Burlington Coat Factory.
Making Lavender Lemonade
To make Lavender Lemonade, start with an herb-infused simple syrup. Take 1 cup of water, 1 cup of sugar, and 2 TB of lavender petals, and heat them until the water boils. Let the syrup simmer for about 5 minutes, and then pour it through a mesh sieve into a different container to get rid of the petals. While it’s cooling, juice your lemons until you have about a cup of lemon juice. Add the lemon juice and 4 more cups of water to a drink pitcher, and then add the syrup once it’s cooled. I like to add more lemon slices next (because it’s pretty that way!). In theory you could also garnish it with lavender sprigs, so that the lemonade screams, “Hey! I’m fancy because I’m made with lavender!” If you don’t care for flowers floating in your drink, however, skip those and stick with the lemons.
Making Hard Lemonade
If you’re wondering, because I definitely was when I made it– Yes! This is delicious as hard lemonade. It blends well with gin or vodka, and the liquor can either be stirred into the whole batch, or added glass by glass for those who want it. If you follow the recipe measurements for hard lemonade, the smaller amount will give you a lighter hard lemonade (about the same strength as a Mike’s Hard Lemonade), and the larger amount will give you a stronger mixed drink, more like a cocktail. Whether you enjoy it on its own or hard, alone or at a party, you’re sure to find that your day feels a little more special than it would with regular lemonade. I’m sure of it.
Note: Sadly, this Lavender Lemonade is not ACTUALLY lavender in color. Maybe that’s a good thing, since a pretty purple drink might scare away some people, but it seems like it would be even more awesome if it was Actually lavender. Sometimes, however, the petals will dye the simple syrup a pretty pale pink, and your lemonade will have a pink tint.
Want more spring-time drinks? Try this tasty cocktail:
Lavender Simple Syrup:
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 TB dried lavender petals, culinary grade
- 6-8 lemons (approx. 1 cup fresh lemon juice), plus 1 more for garnish (sliced and deseeded)
Optional Hard Lemonade Add-Ins:
- 9-12 oz gin or vodka, depending on desired alcohol content (optionally- add 1 1/2 - 2 oz alcohol per 8oz of lemonade)
Make simple syrup by adding sugar, lavender and 1 cup water to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then simmer about 5 minutes. Pour syrup through a mesh sieve into a measuring cup (or other spouted container), and allow it to cool.
Meanwhile, juice lemons until you have about 1 cup of juice. Pour juice into pitcher, and add 4 cups of cold water. Add cooled syrup. Garnish with extra lemon slices. If serving hard, add liquor to pitcher (or add to individual glasses as serving). Serve cold.
Recipe adapted from: The Kitchn