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.
A Little Lavender Goes a Long Way
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!
Tips for Making Homemade Lemonade
- It can take some tinkering to get the sweetness levels right to match your tastes.
- Add more lemon juice if it’s too sweet, or dilute with water if it's too strong.
- Add more sugar if too tart but the lavender levels are good.
- Lavender too intense? Try diluting with chilled water.
- Have plenty of ice on hand to chill and dilute the lemonade.
Can I Make the Lavender Syrup in Advance?
You can make the lavender simple syrup and keep it in a glass bottle or jar in your fridge for future lavender lemonade. Lavender syrup will keep refrigerated for up to two weeks.
Choosing Culinary Lavender
Although all varieties of lavender are edible, some are not as good for cooking. To be safe, stick with English or French lavender varieties, which won’t be soapy or bitter.
Be sure to purchase culinary lavender and not just any old lavender. Where can you get it? Look in the spice aisle or get organic varieties online.
Do not use lavender essential oil or lavender extract. The flavor will be too strong.
More Refreshing Homemade Lemonade Recipes
- Strawberry Lemonade
- Watermelon Lemonade
- Homemade Pink Lemonade
- Blended Whole Lemon Lemonade
- Perfect 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.
1 small handful freshly picked and rinsed lavender flowers, or 1 tablespoon dried lavender flowers
1 cup sugar
2 cups boiling water
1 1/2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cups cold water, plus more as needed
Thinly sliced lemons and a few lavender sprigs, for optional garnish
Prepare the lavender flowers:
Cut the lavender flowers from the stems (no need to strip) and place in a medium bowl (preferably not Pyrex, which can crack when you add boiling water).
Pour the sugar over the flowers, and use your (clean) fingers to gently rub the flowers into the sugar.
Make the lavender simple syrup:
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).
Strain the simple syrup:
Strain the lavender-infused simple syrup and pour into a serving carafe or pitcher.
Make the lemonade to taste:
Stir in the lemon juice. Add another 2 cups of cold 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 your 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 if you so desire.