Posted in Plant This | Comments Off on Lavender

 The best way to get a little lavender flavor in a cocktail is to make a simple syrup with it.  Be sure to start with an English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)  like the strongly fragrant ‘Violet Intrigue’ or ‘Munstead’—they’re the ones most often used in cooking or perfumes.  The next best choice would be L. x intermedia like ‘Grosso’ or ‘Provence.’ Both require sun, fast-draining soil, minimal water, and winter temperatures above 0F to survive.  Mulch is unnecessary, and in fact, wood mulch can cause rot at the base of the plant.  Use grey pea gravel if you’re going to mulch.  After the plant blooms, shear off the spent flower stalks and the top 1/3 of the foliage, but never cut down to bare wood–the plant won’t recover from that treatment. Lavenders are fairly short-lived plants: plan on replacing them after about 5-7 years.

Make up a pot of simple syrup and just toss in fresh or dried lavender buds while it cooks.  Strain it, cool it, and mix it. I’d use it in anything involving gin, vodka, or sparkling wine.  A fresh lavender bud also makes a fabulous Martini garnish; the essential oil spreads out on the surface of the gin and magical things happen.  Looking for lavender in a bottle?  Yes indeed!  Check out Scrappy’s Lavender Bitters.