I like to think that I keep an open mind for opportunities that come along. The other day, I noticed a large clump of lavender in full bloom by the side of the road. Seeing it, I remembered a recipe for Lavender Honey syrup in The Art of the Bar by Jeff Hollinger and Rob Schwartz. A quick look at their recipe and others turned up via Google got me thinking about trying this out at home. The recipes I found all called for just a little bit of lavender, and made a 1:1 syrup. I like the 2:1 enriched syrup recipe I commented on in my last post. I’ve worked out the proportions of syrup to other ingredients in a drink and used it as a base for a Ginger Syrup that turned out well. The small amounts of lavender called for in the various recipes didn’t seem like enough. The Ginger Syrup, gets 2 pounds of chopped ginger to each 2 cups of water. It works well and there’s something reassuring about the symmetry in the measurements. I would be able to get a reasonable amount of fresh flowers so two cups of lavender to each 2 cups of water seemed like a good amount. With that settled I went out.
I came home with what you see – my two cup measure overfilled. I sat down to strip the small flowers off of the stalks. Not an easy task. They don’t strip when they’re fresh, I had to cut them off. Very tedious. After doing this for about half an hour, I noticed that the pile of stalks smelled pretty good. If they smelled good it seemed crazy to throw them away. Change of plan – now just the excess stalk was trimmed away from the flower spike. Five more minutes and they were all ready to use.
I started the syrup base with 3 1/2 cups of granulated sugar and 1/2 cup of corn syrup dissolved in 2 cups of water. This time I added a tablespoon of lemon juice. It helps the sucrose molecules break into fructose and glucose, it might help stabilize the color and I just happen to have some lemons stripped of their zest laying around from another project. Into this went 2 cups of lavender flowers, some as spikes, some as individual flowers. Brought that to a boil, turned off the heat and let it sit for about an hour. This was then strained through a colander, then a sieve and then cheese cloth to give a slightly purple hued clear syrup.
Now that I had the syrup, I wanted to try it out. Several of the recipes I had found online had something to due with making lavender lemonade. I consider most of the liquor & lemon drinks (Tom Collins, Southside, etc) a variation on lemonade. That made it easy to come up with this one:
Lavender Gin Sour
1 1/2 oz gin
1 oz lemon juice
1/2 oz Lavender syrup
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lavender spear:
The lavender fragrance is present without being over powering. I used Junipero Gin because we had that opened. For a lesser strength gin, I might go with a 2 oz pour.
Now, I had some left over lavender and gin, prompting a trial of lavender infused gin. More on that if the result is worth commenting on.