I love lemon all the time but I don’t think there is anything much more refreshing than an ice cold lemon flavored drink in the summer. I love lemonade and lemon drop martinis and limoncello and this…my take on a cocktail my daughter had that she wanted me to re-create. I first published this a couple of years ago before I started my Friday Cocktail series and I thought it time to share again with more people; it’s such a quintessential summer drink.
My daughter Lauren works at Nordstom’s in their Visual Department (she makes everything look pretty and yes, is one of the Christmas elves who transform the store overnight from business as usual the day before Thanksgiving to a holiday wonderland the day after). Each year they host a nice dinner for staff for the holidays. After one Christmas season, she came home with instructions, “You have to make this lemon lavender cocktail that I had at Beatrice and Woodsley!” It was like a lemon drop martini but with lavender infused vodka. I wasn’t inclined to make that effort until summer when I thought it just seemed most appropriate; mostly because I grow lavender in my garden and wanted to use my own. It’s that time of year again and I’m harvesting lavender and this cocktail came to mind.
I thought at first of infusing vodka with the lavender but instead chose to make a lavender simple syrup and that was a good call. I wasn’t sure just how many uses I would find for lavender vodka; except to have one of these every day…wait, maybe I should have done that??!! So easy, so refreshing…really, really good (can you TELL I liked it!).
I’ve hesitated for many years to cut from my one and only lavender bush; it was so gorgeous in bloom that I didn’t want to destroy it, so in the past couple of years I planted several more and now I can harvest lavender from half a dozen plants. This baby has gotten so big I can even cut and hardly notice! I’ve used it for bouquets in my kitchen table and bedroom, for sachets, and of course for some favorite treats. In addition to this cocktail I love lavender shortbread and this Lemon Ricotta Pizza with Caramelized Onions and Herbs – run, don’t walk if you like the sounds of this match; it is to die for. The photo? Not so much.
I’ve sent packets all over the country and a couple of years ago even got some into the hands of my VERY far away friend Deeba in India! This year, I’m hoping Brian and Michelle will have theirs by the weekend! I love the flowers but part of the real beauty is the wonderful herbaceous scent and I’m finding more and more ways to use it in a culinary style.
The secret for good lemonade is to make a simple syrup to blend with the lemon juice, so it was an easy task to then infuse the syrup with lavender. Make sure you are using culinary lavender; either your own or from a vendor. Lavender that has been into sachets to scent a room are not suitable for culinary uses and I would not entrust that to a food or drink product. Sage Creations is a Colorado farm in Palisades that grows stone fruits and lavender for culinary uses if you can’t find any locally.
This one is pretty, lemony and oh so important in these dog days of summer…a super COLD cocktail!
The Perfect summer cocktail with fresh lemonade and a touch of lavender infused syrup.
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 6-8 sprigs of lavender
- 1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
- sugar for rimming
- Vodka, preferably chilled
- lemon slices and lavender sprigs for garnish (optional)
- Add the sugar to water in pot on stove and bring to boil; cook only until sugar is dissolved. Add lavender sprigs and allow to cool completely.
- Put lemon juice in pitcher and strain lavender/sugar water into same pitcher.
- Add cup of ice to pitcher and stir well.
- Use a lemon slice to wet the edge of a martini glass. Rim the edge with sugar. I typically put a layer of sugar on a saucer and dip the top edge in it.
- Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and lemonade; shake thoroughly til very cold.
- Pour the lemonade/vodka mixture through a strainer into a cocktail glass, filling 2/3 full.
- Add 1/2 to a full shot of vodka depending on your taste and stir.
- Garnish with lavender sprigs and/or lemon slices.
This is also a delightful drink without the vodka if serving to non drinkers or children!
Here’s my photo from a couple of years ago. At the time I thought I liked it a lot. But maybe it was because it was only a couple of months after I broke my leg. Getting this baby setup outside was a huge job; a grateful reminder of how far I’ve come since then. I can now get outside without help or paraphernalia; guess I have come a long way baby!