For those of you suffering from sweltering summer heat, here’s a suggestion for a cooling drink, lavender-infused lemonade! Both lemons and lavender grow in abundance here (in California, and my backyard), so it was just a matter of time before they became acquainted. Lavender is edible, though English lavender and Provence lavender are most often used for culinary purposes. Here’s the tip with lavender: it doesn’t take much. Use it sparingly, like rosemary (which would also be terrific in lemonade by the way). Too much and your lemonade may taste like expensive soap. But just a little? Lovely.
Many thanks to my friend Kori Farrell who introduced me to this lavender lemonade!
The sugar/lemon balance will depend on what types of lemons you are using (Meyer lemons are less tart than regular lemons), and your own preference for sweetness.
While all varieties of lavender are edible, English lavender and Provence lavender are most often used for culinary purposes.
If you use fresh, garden flowers, make sure they have not been sprayed with pesticides. Do not use florist flowers.
- A small handful of freshly picked and rinsed lavender flowers or a tablespoon of dried lavender flowers
- 1 cup white, granulated sugar
- 2 cups of boiling water for the infusion
- 1 1/2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 cups or more of cold water
1 Cut the lavender flowers from the stems (no need to strip) and place in a medium bowl (a large pyrex measuring bowl works great because you can pour easily from it). Pour the sugar over the flowers and use your (clean) fingers to gently rub the flowers into the sugar.
2 Pour 2 cups of boiling water over the lavender sugar and stir with a spoon until the sugar has melted. Cover and let infuse for 30 minutes (or up to several hours).
3 Strain the lavender-infused simple syrup and pour into a serving carafe or pitcher.
4 Stir in the lemon juice. Add another two cups of water. Taste and adjust for tartness. Add more lemon juice if too sweet. Add more sugar if too tart. Add ice and more water to desired level of concentration. Note that the ice will melt eventually, further diluting the drink.
Add some thinly sliced lemons and a few lavender sprigs to the serving pitcher for presentation.