I went to France last summer and came back a reluctant Francophile. On the first leg of my trip, I stayed in busy Paris for a few days. I loved the city and the food, but the attitude of the Parisians towards non-French speakers…well, it left a lot to be desired. So it was only after going to the South of France that I warmed up to the French, so to speak. Maybe it was the warm climate addling my jet-lagged brain, but I felt that the people, the culture, and the food were so much more lively, friendly, and engaging. The culinary emphasis was placed on fresh local produce, wines, and lots of herbs. In particular, I loved the use of lavender, which grew abundantly in purple carpets zigzagging across the mountainous terrain. I came back from France with a sizable satchel of cooking lavender, which has since been sitting in my pantry, waiting for a dish worthy of its use.
I finally decided that it would be best utilized in a drink, so that its distinctive flavor could be highlighted. The rosemary provides a nice earthy undertone to balance out the lavender, which can be a little overpowering if left alone. Overall, it’s a lightly sweet and pretty cocktail that’s going to be a favorite of mine!
Rosemary Lavender Vodka Cocktail
1.5 oz of good-quality vodka (or a shot glass)
1 oz of lavender simple syrup (see below for recipe)
1 slice of lemon
plenty of rosemary leaves
soda water (plain carbonated water)
1. Wash rosemary leaves and muddle about 15 of them in the bottom of a glass with the vodka. Strain into a shaker.
2. Add the lavender simple syrup and a generous squeeze of lemon (around 1 tsp of juice) into the shaker.
3. Add ice, shake, and strain into a glass. Top with soda water, lemon and lavender buds for garnish.
Recipe for Lavender Simple Syrup
3 tbsp dried culinary-grade lavender buds
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
red and blue food coloring (optional)
1. Combine sugar, water, and lavender in saucepan. Heat until boiling, then simmer for 5 minutes.
2. Strain out lavender and seal syrup in a jar after cooling. Minuscule amounts of red and blue food coloring can be use to enhance the coloring of the syrup if it’s not quite purple enough for your taste. Bon appétit!