The Northwest loves its lavender, and right now is around the peak of the season. The annual Sequim lavender festival is this weekend if you want to really immerse yourself in all things lavender, but you can also find cut lavender–fresh and dried–at your local farmers market (or just walk around any garden-friendly neighborhood).
But what do you do with that lovely lavender once you have it? Until now I’ve stuck with simple sachets for drawers or to throw in the dryer, but this week I’ve made some delicious beverages with lavender syrup. If you get culinary-quality flowers (no pesticides, etc.), it takes just a few minutes to turn them into fragrant syrup and just a few minutes more to make lovely hot or cold drinks with that.
Start with this simple recipe for syrup. I made a half batch, which yielded just about a cup.
1 quart cold water
1/2 cup lavender syrup
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (no bottled stuff, please!)
lemon slices, fresh lavender or mint sprigs to garnish
Combine water, syrup and lemon juice, and stir well. Taste and adjust proportions as you like. This is not as sweet as most lemonade that you buy, and is roughly balanced between lemon and lavender flavor. Serve over ice with garnishes. Serves 2-4, depending on how thirsty you are!
Try this also with some or all of the water replaced with chilled sparkling water.
1 bag plain black tea, such as English breakfast or Irish breakfast
1 cup hot water
1 tsp. lavender syrup
2-4 Tbsp. nondairy milk, depending on how “foggy” you want your tea. I recommend coconut, almond, soy, or a blend of any of those. Vanilla-flavored milk would be great in this.
Brew the tea a little bit strong, and remove the bag. Stir in the syrup and milk, and enjoy!