Sometimes the most beautiful flavors come in the simplest packages. For years my wife and I’s herb garden has supplied not just the Cocktails, 365 test bar, but also our own personal kitchen, the food and drinks we serve to friends and customers, and food we create for our loved ones.
So it’s with great anticipation I keep my eye on the rising of lavender, sage, basil, mint, lemon grass, oregano, and the countless other herbs we either cultivate or simply grow by their own sheer, stubborn ballsiness. (We’ve never planted a sage plant in our lives, yet a good quarter of our back garden is dominated by this, one of our favorite herbs.)
In particular, it’s lavender we eagerly await. With its floral scents and striking purple hue, it’s one of our favorite things to mix with, whether it be tinctures, bitters, or syrups. In fact, we love lavender so much we keep a bag of dried food grade lavender buds on hand year round just in case the mood strikes us.
With its powerful aromatic qualities and distinctive flavors, it adds just that lovely little bit of spring to many cocktails. In particular we like to pair it with sage to give it an extra layer flavor. Lavender syrup goes really well with just about any spirit, but we’re especially fond of it paired with vodka or a nice, sweeter gin like New Amsterdam or FEW American Gin.
- 1 cup distilled water
- 1 cup turbinado sugar (sugar in the raw)
- 1 cup food-grade lavender buds
Combine the water and sugar in a pot and stir well until sugar starts to dissolve. Turn the heat on to medium high. Pour the lavender buds over the top. Cover. As soon as the water starts boiling, reduce your temperature to medium low and allow to simmer upwards of 10 minutes.
Set aside, allow to cool, and then strain into a sanitized glass bottle. Add a dash of vodka to help prolong life. This can stay in your fridge for up to a month.
Lavender Vodka Tonic
- 3 oz vodka (We like Boru)
- .5 oz lavender syrup
- Tonic water to top
Fill a mason jar overflowing with crushed ice. Gently pour the vodka, syrup, and ginger ale over the top and stir well. Garnish with a purple sage sprig. This will give just a little extra “oomph” on the nose when you sip.
The lavender dominates the drink, but is prevented from being overly sweet by the tonic. We like Canada Dry as our go-to, but if you can get your hands on Fever-Tree, it’s well worth the price bump. While sipping, the sage will give you just a little bit more savory from all the sweetness from the lavender syrup.