It’s lavender time in Oregon. I’m smiling, because sitting next to me is a glorious bouquet of lavender which is permeating the room with its clean, dazzling scent.
With this glut of lavender, I’ve been experimenting with a new syrup for drinks and desserts and I’m wondering why I didn’t think of this idea sooner.
It is tough to beat the combination of lavender and lemon, they are such a natural together. But it occurred to me that it could use middle notes for further enhancement. The answer was so obvious: it needed vanilla. I gave it a try in my last batch and was amazed at the difference!
I also wanted to do away with the sugar and the heating of the simple syrup for a more natural approach. I’d replace it all with agave nectar combined directly with the flavoring mixture. Then, I’d let the power of the sun would work its magic.
For the flavoring blend, I gathered up lavender blossoms, lemon zest, a bit of lemon, part of the vanilla and smashed it all together. I blended this mash with agave syrup and let them hang out in the sun for an afternoon.
I couldn’t help myself. I kept opening the lid to check the aromatics—and it continued to blossom. I gave it a taste, the flavor was intensifying beautifully. I took this as a good omen and decided to let the syrup stand at room temperature overnight and into the next day, and when I thought about it, I’d give it a good shake.
You could call this a sun syrup because the heat of the sun is enough to release the natural oils and flavors into a tantalizing summer blend for spritzers and a myriad of other uses. This syrup is delicious drizzled over Olive Oil and Yogurt Cake. Fair warning: it is addictive with fresh strawberries.
Vanilla-Lavender Syrup with Lemon
- 3 Tbsp fresh lavender blossoms and leaves
- 1 Tbsp lemon zest
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract, divided
- 1½ cup agave
To make the syrup: with a mortar a pestle, pound the lavender, lemon zest and juice, and 1/2 tsp vanilla to soften and release aromatics. Place in a 2 cup jar, add the agave and shake to combine.
Let the mixture stand in a warm sunny spot for 4 to 6 hours. Then allow it to stand at room temperature overnight, shaking once or twice to disperse mixture.
The next day strain the mash through a fine sieve lined with cheesecloth. Place the syrup in a clean jar or bottle, add the remaining vanilla and shake well. Let stand at room temperature 1 more day to mellow flavors, then store in fridge for 2-3 weeks. Yield: 1-1/2 cups
Pour about 1 tablespoon Vanilla-Lavender Syrup into 8 ounce glass. Half fill with soda or sparkling water and stir well. Add cracked ice, squeeze in a lemon slice, top off with more soda water, give a stir and tuck in fresh lavender if available.