So my arrival back in England means the launch of my 'Cocktail Hour' column, posting different seasonal and timeless cocktail recipes for you all to all make and enjoy. There have been some requests for non-alcoholic (virgin) cocktails in this column, and while I have decided that I am not going to compose recipes specifically geared to non drinkers, I am going to be sure to mark all the recipes that work just as well if you leave the alcohol out, or suggest alcohol alternatives whenever possible.
For my first cocktail I decided to add vodka, arguably the most versatile spirit of them all to some ingredients that I have been playing around with a lot recently. I was making pitchers of homemade lemonade practically every single week leading up to when I left Los Angeles because I was getting such big beauties at Westwood Farmers Market every Thursday afternoon. I put together a recipe for Thyme infused lemonade for the Birchbox blog (coming soon!), which made me start thinking about other herbal infused lemonades; rosemary and basil. On arriving back home for the Summer I found I could go down the floral route with all the roses and lavender in bloom. I have yet to think about how I'm going to cook with the rose petals, but lemon and lavender became fast friends as a flavour combination in my head when I started composing another recipe using them both as the star flavours in another guest post spot. It was really a natural progression! Apparently, though it is Wimbledon at the moment which usually means rain, I've managed to bring the weather back from Los Angeles with me so this boozy lemonade served over lots of ice is the perfect cooling cocktail to enjoy this weekend. Also, this works well without vodka, also for those of you who like a little less booze.
This recipe makes about a medium jug of fresh lemonade. As for the lavender, thyme can also be used but if you don't have fresh lavender growing in your garden ready to cut, small pots of it already flowering can be purchased reletivly inexpensively from any garden center, and will look pretty in your window.
- 6 Fresh Lavender Heads, plus extra to serve
- 1l (4 cups) Boiling Water
- 75g (1/3 cup) Granulated Sugar
- 2 Large Lemons
- 10-14 tbsp Vodka
Place the lavender in a small bowl and cover with 250ml (1 cup) of boiling water and set aside to infuse. Meanwhile, add the rest of the sugar and water to a small saucepan and simmer over a low heat, stirring gently until all the water is disolved. Take off the heat. Juice the lemons and add the juice to the sugar and water mixture. Remove the lavender stems and any additional stray pieces from the smaller bowl of water and stir it into the lemon mixture. Allow to cool, and add the vodka to taste/ personal preference. Enjoy served over ice, and preferably watching the tennis.
I have a couple more planned, but does anyone have any particular cocktail recipe requests to make?