Sweet, tart, and floral, lavender lemonade is a lovely warm weather drink. It's perfect for spring and summer, whether you're entertaining or just want to keep it in the fridge for a cold, refreshing beverage. Making it at home is rather simple as well because it requires one simple change from fresh-squeezed lemonade.
For this recipe, you'll start by making a lavender-infused honey syrup. As easy as any other homemade syrup, fresh or dried lavender buds are steeped in water that's sweetened with sugar and honey (a blend that gives it a richer flavor). Once that's cool and the flavor to your liking, it's time to squeeze lemons, then blend both ingredients with water.
The syrup will yield about 1 1/2 cups and you'll want about that same amount of lemon juice. Blending the three ingredients together is a matter of taste, so start with the recommendation and add more of any element as you like. With any lemonade, it's always good to start with a slightly intense taste. The flavor will soften when it's served over ice and allows you to spike it or blend it with tea or sparkling water.
- For the Lavender Honey Syrup:
- 1 cup water
- 3 to 4 tablespoons fresh or dried culinary lavender buds
- 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
- 1 cup honey
- For the Lemonade:
- 5 to 6 large lemons (juiced; about 1 1/2 cups)
- 4 to 5 cups cold water (to taste)
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups lavender syrup
- Garnish: lemon slices
- Garnish: lavender sprigs
Note: While there are multiple steps to this recipe, this lemonade is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and assembly.
Make the Lavender Honey Syrup
Gather the ingredients.
In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup of water and the lavender. Bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat. Stir in the sugar until dissolved, then stir in the honey. Simmer for 10 minutes.
Remove from the heat, cover, and let steep and cool for at least 1 hour, or until the flavor reaches your desired intensity.
Bottle and store in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Make the Lemonade
Juice five or six lemons; enough for about 1 1/2 cups of juice. Strain the juice through a fine-mesh strainer to remove seeds and pulp.
In a pitcher, combine 1 cup each of the lavender syrup and lemon juice along with 4 cups of cold water. Stir well, taste, and add more of any ingredient to your preference.
Serve over ice and garnish with lavender sprigs and lemon slices. The lavender lemonade can be stored with a lid in the refrigerator for about 1 week.
Can Lavender Essential Oil Be Used to Make Lemonade?
Although you may see lavender suggested in recipes because it's one of the mildest, it's generally not safe to use essential oils in food or drinks. Essential oils are not regulated and they're designed to capture the plant's fragrance, not its taste. The majority are also labeled "not for consumption" and should be for external use only. According to the National Capital Poison Center (NCPC), there are too many potentially poisonous variables, including unknown ingredients and varying adverse reactions among individuals. A food-safe alternative to lavender buds is a culinary lavender extract. Made in a similar way to vanilla extract, it's available from reputable manufacturers or you can make your own extract with an alcohol or glycerin base.
- Use culinary lavender or buds harvested from lavender plants that you know have not been sprayed with pesticides or other harmful chemicals.
- Fresh and dried lavender can be used, though the infusion time will vary. Tasting is essential with each batch of lavender syrup.
- Any lavender syrup might not turn out purple. It depends on the type of lavender you use and the honey actually controls the color in this syrup. If you'd like a purple lavender lemonade, stir 1 drop each of blue and red food coloring into either the syrup or the lemonade.
- Make lavender lemonade by the glass if you like. Simply store the syrup in the refrigerator, mixing 1 part each of syrup and lemon juice with 2 parts cold water. (This frees up your syrup for fun drinks like a lavender martini.)
- Spike lavender lemonade in the glass by adding a shot of vodka, rum, or tequila.
- Create a sparkling lavender lemonade with club soda or sparkling wine. If you're serving it right away, use the bubbly beverage instead of half the lemonade recipe's water. Otherwise, to ensure full carbonation, add the soda or wine to individual glasses.
- Put a floral twist on the Arnold Palmer by pouring equal parts of lavender lemonade and iced tea.
National Capital Poison Center: Poison Control. Essential Oils: Poisonous When Misused. Poison.org