Spring has sprung! I love so many things about this season that’s all too short in the Deep South. Soon it will be ninety degrees in the shade down here, keeping most of us hiding indoors in our AC. But for now the temps are mild, the sky is impossibly blue, flowers are blooming, and the cacophony of chirping birds and buzzing bees is somehow calming.
It all puts me in a loving mood, and one current focus of my affection is a delicate stalk studded with tiny, pale purple petals. I’m in love with lavender, and I’ve got two easy ways to convince you to love it too, by incorporating its soothing, subtle, but scent-sational floral flavor into a cocktail and a zippy, sweet sorbet.
You’ll notice both recipes pair lavender with citrus, and with good reason—the two tastes were made to go together.
This is my version of a cocktail I had in Austin, Texas. It’s amazingly effervescent and refreshing, perfect for a warm afternoon or evening.
This makes one drink.
• 4 tablespoons of lavender simple syrup (see method below)
• 2 tablespoons lime juice
• 1 ounce vodka
• 4 ounces of ginger beer (not ginger ale!)
Mix all ingredients and serve over crushed ice with a lime wedge or wheel.
Lavender Simple Syrup
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 cup water
• 2 tablespoons dried lavender blossoms (available in spice sections of many grocery stores)
In a small saucepan, stir the water, sugar, and lavender together and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 4-5 minutes.
Remove from heat let sit for 5 minutes. Strain the syrup. Let cool.
LAVENDER-LACED CITRUS SORBET
Nothing brightens your day like the burst of tangy sweetness from oranges, grapefruits, and limes. Their bright colors, fresh scents, and tart tastes jump-start dull senses like a bugle call. Add a little lavender for an extra layer of flavor, and you’ve got a sophisticated treat.
• 3 cups of fresh-squeezed orange and red grapefruit juice run through a fine strainer to remove any pulp
• The juice of 1 lime
• 1 teaspoon orange zest
• 1 teaspoon grapefruit zest
• 1 tablespoon lavender
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 1 cup water
Add the juice of one lime to your orange and grapefruit juices. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, stir the water, sugar, zest, and lavender together and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook for about 4-5 minutes to make a simple syrup.
Remove from heat and strain the syrup. Let cool.
Once your syrup is cool, stir it into your juices.
Add this to your ice-cream maker and follow its directions.
Pour the mixture into a shallow metal pan.
Cover with foil or plastic wrap, and put the pan in the freezer to set up for four hours.
Spoon the frozen mixture into a food processor (in batches if needed) and blend until smooth.
Place in a sealable container and freeze until firm (about another hour).
I make my sorbet the second way, and it turns out wonderful, but you’ll probably get a creamier sorbet using an ice cream machine.
SEE ALL OF THE “I LOVE LAVENDER” PHOTOS HERE