Question about lavender for drinks
- watercress Jun 28, 2009 10:28 AM
I was just given an unexpectedly large two bunches of fresh lavender. I made a little simple syrup with some and made lavender lemonade (and spiked some--- very good!), but here are my questions: 1) I want to preserve it in simple syrup and in vodka. Should I use the whole lavender, or just the purple parts, do you think? 2) think I should freeze the syrup, or will it likely keep a long time? Thanks! Don't want to waste it!
I'd be interested in ideas on this, too. I have about 1/4 acre of lavender plants on my property, and they typically do little more than attract a lot of bees. If I could put it to use for drinking purposes, I would be a happier man. I currently utilize my mini mint plantation for this purpose, so adding lavender to the cocktail repertoire would be great.
Alcohol extractions of lavender turn rather bitter quickly. After attempting it the first time, a bartender told me to make it a short cold infusion (a few hours) and use that day, otherwise it will be bitter. Syrups seem the way to go.
The closed flowers are the most potent part of the lavender. The open flowers and dried ones are second best. The greens do have the same flavor but tend to carry more bitterness with them. In a syrup, the sugar can balance this. I strip the flowers off the stem (run my fingers down the stem and they pop right off).
Freezing would work and would give you a nice treat later in the season. Otherwise, it the off season you can alway make more syrup with dried flowers. Someone told me that the syrup should last about a month or two in the fridge. The other option is to give out aliquots as gifts...
And lastly, the drink I made with my lavender syrup was this take on the Southside:
Thanks for the input. That drink sounds good. I'd been musing on lavender and mint (two of my favorite flavors), so here's an excuse to try them together. By the way, some of the lavender flowers dropped off into a bowl of raspberries I'd picked which were sitting below, and they were nice together, too.