When I lived in Los Feliz Village in East Los Angeles, my girlfriends and I had a favorite afternoon haunt just around the corner from my apartment. It was called Mes Amis, and it was a charming French restaurant right in the middle of all the action on Vermont. They had a brilliant happy hour menu, and as we were all struggling artists at the time, $5 drinks and small plates were heaven to us. It was at Mes Amis that I first tried a lavender martini, and I fell head over heels in love! Unfortunately, one day Mes Amis was there, and the next day, it wasn't. I was devastated when it closed, with no warning, and even more devastated to realize that I had no idea how to make a lavender martini. I spent several years researching, trying to find lavender liqueurs, searching the internet, asking every bartender I came across if they knew how to make this drink... and all to no avail. In the meantime, I fortified my love-affair with lavender any way I could. I learned how to make lavender scones, I bought lavender soda in bulk from Galco's in Eagle Rock, I burnt lavender-scented candles.
Finally, last year, I was doing a wedding installation at Highland Springs Resort in Cherry Creek, and what should I see on the chalkboard at the lodge but the offering of a lavender martini! I approached the chef, and he informed me that the lavender martini was concocted using simple syrup made from the fresh lavender growing on the property. I was stunned, I'd never even considered a lavender simple syrup, and this revelation changed my life! I found quickly how incredibly easy it was to make lavender simple syrup (or any infused simple syrup, for that matter!), and my weekends were again filled with lavender martinis! Since moving to Denver, however, I've been suffering withdrawal from the Dry Lavender Soda that I could access so easily in Los Angeles. The other day, it hit me, I learned to make lavender martinis, why not lavender soda? So I employed the good old lavender simple syrup, and voila! I simply cannot get enough of this refreshing and ridiculously simple drink, and I hope you'll enjoy it, too!
Lavender Simple Syrup
Combine in a saucepan over low heat 1 cup water 1 cup sugar
Bring to a boil so that the sugar dissolves, then add 1/2 cup organic lavender buds (cultivated for culinary use!)
Let the lavender buds simmer in the syrup for 20 minutes, then turn off the heat and let sit until cool. Transfer the mixture to an airtight container and leave in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Drain the syrup through a sieve to remove all the lavender buds, and use within a week.
Images | Styling by Lauryl Lane.