Wednesday, May 23, 2012

lavender lemonade

With the arrival of summer weather comes my need to always have a bottle of simple syrup in the refrigerator.  If you've ever experienced the frustration of trying to dissolve granulated sugar in a pitcher of iced tea you know this syrup is an absolute must for sweetening cold summer beverages.  (If you're avoiding white sugar, you can make this syrup with raw sugar, although you will get a darker colour.  A quick Google search should also provide the proportions if you wanted to do an agave or honey based syrup.)

On Sunday I became a little bit obsessed with the idea of doing a lavender infused simple syrup and then making lavender lemonade.  So I stopped by Aura Whole Foods on my way home from work yesterday and for a toonie I got enough lavender buds to make 3-4 batches of this syrup. In the time it took to cook up a pot of pasta for my supper, I had made a cup of dusty pink, lavender-infused simple syrup.  

(This  was so dead easy that I think I'll go back and get some hibiscus. Imagine a shocking pink syrup!

the how to
bring 1 cup of water and 3 tablespoons lavender buds to a boil.  Add 1 cup of sugar, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes occasionally giving the pot a gentle swirl.   Remove from heat and let cool slightly before straining the syrup.  I strained once through a fine mesh sieve and then a second time through a coffee filter.  Let cool completely.  This will yield about a cup of syrup.  It will keep in a sealed bottle for about a week. 

To make the lemonade, combine 2 parts water + 1 part freshly squeezed lemon juice +1 part simple syrup

Pimm's Cup:  What the mint julep is to the Kentucky Derby, this cocktail is to Wimbledon and polo matches.  The herbal lavender lemonade is a perfect complement to this gin-based liqueur.  In a tall glass pour 1.5-2 oz Pimm's No. 1 over ice, fill with lemonade.  Top with club soda if you want a little fizz and garnish with a slice of cucumber (the traditional way), a twist of lemon, a strawberry or a sprig of mint.  It's Pimm's O'Clock!

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