Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Lavender lemonade: Summer's amazing nectar

Vast acres of lavender? No, all you need is one lowly plant for this delicious summer drink.

It was a couple of summers ago when I first sipped it, at a baby shower. I remember being handed a cool glass with the off-hand comment, "Oh, this is lavender lemonade," like one would say, "I just closed the door." No biggie, so what. Ha! So what? This is the nectar of the gods, truly. My first thought (honestly) was, why does this person know about lavender lemonade and I do not? (No, not competitive at all.) Apparently, she had been following Martha Stewart a bit more closely than I...and Oprah (it was featured in the magazine in 2002! Where was I?)

Well, I might have been late to the party, but I did arrive, finally--quite happily. Since that shower, I have snipped and clipped lavender, much to my men's shaking heads (this one is completely lost on them) and filled the house with the beautiful scent  on a number of occasions.

The very first time I made it, I put the pot on the stove and went back out into the yard. Seth was in the kitchen with a friend, playing around on his computer. When I came back in a half hour later, the pot had boiled over on the stove and the syrup was bubbling all around. It was my brand-spanking new cooktop (which for a few minutes--well no, hours--I thought I had ruined completely), and I was steamed. Mostly at myself for not making sure it was on low low low before going out, but a little at the two clueless boys playing away while the syrup boiled over!

I have since learned my lesson. Smaller batches, lower temps, and me inside watching over it.

Lavender simple syrup
3 Tbsp. lavender blossoms
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

Put all the ingredients in a heavy pot and bring to a low boil. Turn off the heat and steep for an hour or so, then strain and cool completely.

Some recipes call for leaving the flowers in the syrup while storing. I don't do that. I find the flavor is strong enough with the hour of steeping. And I like the look of it strained, rather than all grass-clipping-like, in the fridge.

The syrup keeps well for at least a month, so making a small batch as I've indicated above, you should be able to use it up. But I often can't resist doubling and or tripling the batch, to have gifts for friends with likeminded lavender needs!

Making the lemonade then, is a bit of a taste-testing experiment. And one I've struggled with, since I have generally started with lemonade (which is already sweet) and then added simple syrup (very sweet) and the drink has been hard to keep from getting over the top. The way I've solved it, is to add some seltzer to the drink and that helps keep the sweet factor from ratcheting up too much and the slight fizz is refreshing, too.

Usually about 2 tablespoons of the syrup into a 16 oz glass of lemonade (filled 3/4), then topped off with seltzer and you're good to go! This enables me to make one glass at a time at home, but I've also used the same general principal when making a whole pitcher and it works too!

Next time I need a larger batch of lemonade, though, I think I might try Oprah's recipe, which makes the syrup and lemonade all in one pot, and see if I can't adjust the sweet level right there. I'll let you know how it goes. For now, I'm off to harvest more lavender!


  1. Thank you so much for sharing the Lavender syrup recipe! I tasted my first Lavender Lemonade at the spa in Westin Maui a couple of years ago. It was AMAZING! I've always wondered if I can make one myself and was thinking I should google. No google necessary, when I'm following a knowledgeable blogger like you!

  2. Oh, goodness. I'm definitely trying this one. I may need to plant a hundred more lavender plants too!

    Once I get this lemonade tweaked to my liking, I need to find the perfect tea with which to mix it. Arnold Palmers are my refreshing beverage of choice this summer.

    In fact, I think summer just got a BUNCH better! :)

  3. Because of our amazing ant population on this island I did some research on natural ways to discourage them from building their homes close to mine. Grow lavender!! So when you come next year you will see much more lavender. You can harvest mine and go into the business of mass production of lavender lemonade!!! Your lavender lemonade is the very best anywhere.


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