My father is from the south of France, where I spent my childhood summers frolicking on sunny beaches, buying fresh figs in local street markets, and buying up sachets of dried lavender to take home to the United States. Every time I opened my clothing drawers, the scent transported my mind to the sparkling Mediterranean for a moment. The intoxicating aroma of lavender also lends itself nicely to both food and drinks. Now, I use it regularly in syrups, stews, cakes, and cocktails. Whether homegrown or bought at the farmers’ market, culinary lavender buds are a staple in my kitchen. My homemade lavender syrup is delightful drizzled over bite-sized goat-cheese-filled pastry puffs or added to cocktails as a sweetening agent.
Boil ½ cup dried culinary lavender buds, 1½ cups sugar, and 1¾ cups water until bubbling. Lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Let stand until cool, then refrigerate overnight, if possible. Strain, then bottle. Store in the refrigerator.
Shake 1 ounce Lavender Syrup, 1 ounce fresh lemon juice, and 2 ounces gin with ice. Strain into a small cocktail glass to serve “up,” or over fresh ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with a lavender sprig.
Pour 1 ounce lavender syrup, 2 ounces fresh lemon juice, and 4 ounces sparkling water into a tall glass filled with ice. Garnish with a lavender sprig.
Photography by Felicia Perrett
Originally published in Organic Gardening magazine, August/September 2014