I’ll gladly award a tall, cool glass of Lavender Lemonade to anyone capable of transforming me into a hat person.
I’m not sure if it’s my deceptively large head (blame the hair! and the brains!) or the fact that I am just decidedly unhip, but I have never succeeded at properly rocking a hat. Sure, I showed up to my 8 a.m. undergrad management class in a beanie 95% of the time, but this was due to the inhumane collegiate hour, rather than conscious choice on my part. In my three years working at our on-campus pizza/burger/ice cream joint, I rarely wore the food safety-required baseball cap, opting for the more forgiving bandana instead. Hats and I—we’re not a cute couple.
Although my heart will move on from never hitting up a sleek urban market while sporting a fedora or swaying at a summer concert in a cowboy hat, I will forever feel a pang of longing to wear a floppy sunhat with style and poise. The ones I’ve tried thus far have left me looking more gangly than Grace Kelly.
It’s a pity really, because a floppy hat is just what I picture each of us wearing as we enjoy refreshing glasses of this homemade lavender lemonade. Beneath our wide brims, we’ll take long, lazy sips of this fresh, floral drink from cute, stripy straws. We’ll be the picture of casual elegance, never once smudging our perfectly applied lipstick. We could even fit in at the Hamptons, if only I didn’t down my first glass of lavender lemonade in a decidedly unladylike 3.6 seconds. Please excuse me while I raise a pristinely-manicured finger to call for a refill.
If you’ve never made homemade lemonade, you are in for a true treat. It’s only three little ingredients—water, lemon juice, and sugar—and is perhaps the most iconic thirst quencher on a summer afternoon. I beg you, leave the powdered stuff behind and use real fruit. You deserve it, and the taste improvement is exceptional.
Homemade lemonade begins with simple syrup, which is a fancy of saying sugar and water that are heated together briefly on the stove. To make lavender lemonade, I added dried lavender flowers to the sugar before I mixed it with the water, then let the lavender hang out in the simple syrup for about a half hour before straining. This method is almost entirely hands-off, and it works for making many other flavors of lemonade too (check out last summer’s line up of blackberry, ginger, and basil lemonade).
I suspect this lavender syrup would be lovely mixed with club soda (vodka optional but encouraged), snuck into champagne, drizzled over vanilla ice cream, or used to soak a sponge cake, and it is especially good when used to sweeten homemade lemonade. The resulting drink is both bewitchingly floral and deeply soothing.
Though I plan to enjoy homemade lavender lemonade all spring and summer long, I can see it being especially fitting for a Mother’s Day brunch (friendly reminder: this Sunday!). Place a big pitcher at the center of your table, garnish it with a few fresh lavender springs, then relax with a refreshing glass while the lavender perfumes the room. Enchanting.
I might even be inspired to wear that floppy hat.
- 1 tablespoon dried lavender flowers
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 5 cups water — divided
- 1 1/2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice — (5 to 8 lemons, depending on size)
- Additional lemon slices — optional for garnish
- Fresh lavender sprigs — optional for garnish
- Place the lavender and sugar in a small saucepan. Off the heat, rub them together with your fingers for a minute or so, until the lavender smells very fragrant. Add 1 cup water to the sugar and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir to dissolve sugar. Remove the pan from the heat cover, and allow to steep for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours. Strain the syrup into a serving pitcher.
- To the pitcher, add the fresh lemon juice and remaining 4 cups water. Stir together, then chill until nice and cold. Serve over ice, garnished with additional lemon slices or fresh lavender springs.
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