Sit back, relax, and say ahhhhhhhh with Lavender Lemonade, a sophisticated twist on a summer classic. Tart, juicy lemons level up with the help of a subtly-sweet lavender simple syrup in this perfect backyard beverage. One sip and you’ll be transported to a hammock, swaying gently in a cool summer breeze, soft jazz playing in the background, and a waft of botanicals creating a swirl of calm around you. Wistful daydream guaranteed even if your neighbor is outside mowing the lawn.
Just as I appreciate well-seasoned food, I have come to appreciate a well-seasoned beverage. Mint in a mojito is classic. I love how well basil compliments fruit flavors in both cocktails and infused water. From juniper to elderflower to rosemary, using herbs and florals in non-traditional ways has been trending in the culinary scene for a couple years now. But botanicals in beverages are not for everyone.
There are some who swear cilantro tastes like soap, and it seems like everyone on baking shows is just willy nilly adding rosewater to cake these days.
But lavender? Lavender literally got it’s name from the Latin verb lavare – to wash. I mean, my dryer sheets are lavender scented. So I completely understand if there’s a certain feeling of skepticism when it comes to adding it to America’s favorite summertime beverage.
As with seasoning chicken, fish, or vegetables, they key is not to overdo it. The goal is to imbue your main ingredient with the essence of something else to enhance its flavor. And so when you’ve got a strong profile like lavender, you need a host with an even stronger personality to get that balance. And since onionade is not a thing, we arrive at this sophisticated summer sipper – Lavender Lemonade.
If you’ve been skeptical too, this recipe is the mind-changer you need. It’s lovely and lemony with just an herbaceous hint. And I know looks aren’t everything, but would you look at how stinkin’ gorgeous this lemonade is?! Classic meets chic meets chill. It’s an entire mood and I’m here for it.
How to juice lemons
As you can see from the photograph below, I am the proud owner of an electric citrus juicer (Citristar) so for me, it’s a simple matter of turning this puppy on and letting it work its magic. In fact, it’s so easy I like to let the boys help because there’s minimal risk of them a) hurting themselves or b) hurting the juice.
But if you’re not a food blogger, juice cleanser, or newlywed who had a comprehensive gift registry, chances are you’re juicing by hand. And you’ve got options:
- Citrus reamer: a handy tool for most kitchens, from making fresh lemonade to squeezing citrus for cocktails. Get one with a base for collecting the juice, bonus points if it has measurements built in. Simply cut your fruit in half and twist around the ridged edges to extract your juice.
- Citrus squeezer: juice over a large (4 cup) wide-mouthed pyrex measuring cup for less spillage and easy measuring and pouring.
- A fork: yes, really! Lacking none of the above, twisting the tines of a fork into a halved lemon will do a decent job of juicing.
Before juicing, roll the lemons back and forth on the counter a few times to loosen the membranes and make juicing just a bit easier.
Remember to be aware of seeds and pulp when manually juicing. I recommend straining your juice regardless of which side of the pulp debate you fall on so you can extract any seeds. Add pulp back into the juice according to taste.
How to make lavender lemonade
Simple and refreshing, Lavender Lemonade is the perfect quencher on a hot summer day. Start with your simple syrup by stirring sugar, water and lavender together over medium high heat until sugar is dissolved and mixture is clear. Once your syrup is cooling, juice your lemons and strain to remove seeds. Combine everything together once your syrup is close to room temp and serve over ice with lemon and lavender as garnish. As pretty as it is tasty!
- Combine water, white sugar, and dried lavender flowers in a small sauce pot over medium heat. Heat until the sugar dissolves and the solution is clear. Do not boil, which will start to crystalize the syrup. Food science is a thing!
- Steep the lavender flowers in the syrup for at least 30 minutes, and up to 2 hours. The longer is steeps, the stronger the flavor will be and the more vidid the color.
- Strain through a small metal sieve or a piece of cheesecloth into a storage container, like a mason jar.
- Cool to room temperature before using.
- Combine lemon juice, lavender simple syrup, and cold filtered water in a pitcher.
- Stir to combine, then add several cups of ice.
- Garnish with lemon slices, and serve cold over more ice in a tall glass.
How many lemons yield one cup of juice?
The average lemon yields roughly 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, so you’ll need 6-8 lemons to get enough juice for this recipe. Some lemons are juicer, and some methods (like an electric juicer) yield more juice.
Does lavender have health benefits?
While plenty of folks pooh-pooh herbal remedies, there are lots of scientific studies (including this comprehensive report from the NIH on lavender) that back up claims of the medicinal benefits of many botanicals. Lavender is well-regarded for its ability to soothe and promote relaxation, including anxiety reduction. It’s also great for banishing headaches and acting as an anti-inflammatory.
Where to buy lavender?
Dried lavender typically cannot be found in the spice aisle of your local grocery store, but don’t fret – there’s certainly a source that’s convenient for you. Chain stores like Whole Food’s and Mom’s Organic Market offer it in bulk. I purchase it from our local co-op. Or you can order it online from a reputable source – we like Mountain Rose Herbs.
Can I dry my own lavender?
If you’ve got lavender growing in your garden, you can definitely dry your own. Lavender is usually dried in bundles. Bind stems together and hang in a warm, dry spot away from sunlight (helps retain color) in the house for about 7-10 days. To speed up the process, you can spread out on a paper towel on a flat surface and check every couple days until dry.
You can also use a food dehydrator on its lowest setting – which should take 24-48 hours – but we’d avoid the oven, even on low, since it will also toast up your house. And who needs that in the summer? For these and more tips on harvesting lavender, check out Homestead and Chill.
Tips for making lavender lemonade perfectly
- I definitely recommend using fresh-squeezed lemon juice, but don’t feel bad about using bottled if that’s what is on hand. Do try to make sure it’s relatively fresh.
- Gently roll lemons under your palm on the counter a few times before juicing – it will loosen the membranes and making juicing easier.
- Strain the lavender using a fine mesh sieve to avoid getting particles in your lemonade. Do NOT muddle the florals to push liquid through or hello soap! Let it drain on it’s own.
- Though not necessary, use culinary lavender if it’s available to you. If buying in bulk, by weight, you’ll need about 10 grams.
More botanical beverages you’ll love
- Mint + Basil Lemonade (with Sparkling + Cocktail Variations)
- Strawberry Basil Margarita Summer Cocktail
- Honey Bourbon Cocktail with Rosemary Simple Syrup
- Watermelon Mojito Cocktail
- Rosemary Vodka Gimlet Cocktail
Did you make this this Lavender Lemonade? I’d love to know how it turned out! Leave a comment and a rating below
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- Citrus juicer
- Small Sauce Pot
- Fine mesh sieve
- 1 c white sugar
- 1/2 c water
- ¼ c dried lavender flowers
- 1 c lemon juice
- 3 c water
- Make the lavender simple syrup. Combine the sugar, water, and lavender flowers in a small sauce pot over medium high heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves completely and the mixture is clear. Remove from heat; steep the lavender flowers in the simple syrup for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours. Strain the lavender flowers from the simple syrup using a small metal sieve or a piece of cheesecloth.
- Combine the lavender simple syrup, lemon juice, and water in a pitcher. Add ice, or chill for 4 hours. Serve cold, garnished with fresh lavender flowers if desired.