by L. Diane Johnson
Here in Williamson Valley, lavender bushes are prolific, despite the drought and dry soil conditions. I often use the fresh lavender flowers in my baking, but my new fav is lavender lemonade.
Herbal and soothing, there isn't anything that refreshes quite like this beverage on a hot summer day!
1 cup fresh lavender leaves
4 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar (substitute stevia for a sugar free version or try a combo of honey and stevia)
2 cups lemon juice (I used bottled lemon juice along with some real lemon and lime juice)
1 lemon, zested, or combination of lemon and lime zest
Sliced lemons or limes for garnish
Boil 2 cups of the water in the microwave or on your stovetop. Pour the hot water over the lavender leaves and allow to steep for 30 minutes. After the 30 minutes, pour the lavender "tea" through a strainer and into a glass pitcher. Take the other two cups of water and bring to a boil with the sugar to make a syrup, if using sugar. This will only need to boil a couple of minutes. Set aside.
Zest the lemons or limes into the pitcher with the lavender "tea". Add the lemon juice to the syrup water. Now add the lemon juice and syrup water combination to the "tea" in the pitcher and stir.
When ready to serve, garnish with lavender blossoms and citrus slices. Serve in mason jars, or any interesting glass or vintage jar with a sprig of lavender. Enjoy!
Makes: Twelve servings.