With summer comes the need for a light and refreshing cocktail to cool you off and make the heat and humidity a bit more bearable. No cocktail does that for me more than a super yummy and super cold martini. I love the options when it comes to flavoring and mixing martinis. You can serve them straight up, on ice, or blended. They can be super sweet or super savory. And you can mix them with so many different kinds of liquors, juices, garnishes, and more. They are truly multipurpose drinks!
The cocktail I’ve been obsessed with all summer is a lavender martini. I first had it at The Southern – a great bar with a huge patio, amazing drinks, and delicious food – in Downtown Asheville (they also have super yummy margaritas, bloody mary’s, and their own Southern Special Tea – you’ve gotta go try it out). Once I got home I knew I had to try my hand at replicating this light, herbaceous, and refreshing summer cocktail. A little bit of trial, error, and added twists later and I present to you: The 20 Somethings’ Lavender Thyme Martini!
Recipe after the jump.
Putting this martini together is super simple. First you need to make a lavender simple syrup (calm down, it’s not hard), then you just mix it up with some ice, gin, lemon juice, and a sprig of thyme. That’s it!
Here’s how you make the lavender simple syrup:
- Add one cup water and four tablespoons lavender flowers to a small pot – bring to a boil.
- When water is boiling, add one cup granulated white sugar and stir to dissolve.
- Once sugar is dissolved, turn off heat and remove the pot.
- Let lavender simple syrup cool to room temperature before using or storing.
- Once it has cooled, strain the lavender simple syrup into a container of your choice – discard the flowers.
I purchase my lavender flowers from World Market. They sell the flowers in a small package of .25 ounces (enough for two batches of lavender syrup) for just $1.99. The flowers are sourced from France – the home of all things lavender – and can even be purchased on the World Market website. Visit the link above and search for “Lavender Flower.” You can also find lavender flowers at local organic markets. Whatever you do – do not replace the flowers with a lavender oil or concentrate – it’s not the same! You need to buy and use food grade lavender flowers.
Once the syrup is cooled, I store it in the fridge in a mason jar. It will keep for up to a month. You can also use the simple syrup to make homemade lavender lemonade (add 1/2 cup syrup to 1/2 cup lemon juice and 1 1/2 cups water – stir and serve over ice) or to make lavender and honey lattes (add 1 tablespoon lavender simple syrup and 1 tablespoon honey to two shots espresso and 1 cup steamed milk – YUM!).
Simple syrups are also incredibly flexible creations. You can make and use simple syrups in a ton of different ways. Make an orange simple syrup by replacing the lavender flowers with the peel of four oranges. Or a lemon simple syrup by doing the same thing. Try rosemary or thyme simple syrups to sweeten savory cocktails or delicious lemonades – simply add a few tablespoons of the fresh herb to the boiling water and sugar mixture. A ginger simple syrup – using the same ratios and a large piece of ginger (four ounces or so), peeled and chopped into discs – can be used to add a spicy twist to cocktails.
Now, here’s where you make the magic happen with the martini -
- Fill your favorite cocktail shaker with one cup crushed ice.
- Add three ounces gin (or two shots) – chilled.
- Add two ounces lavender simple syrup (or four tablespoons).
- Add the juice of one lemon.
- Add one sprig of fresh thyme.
- Shake until chilled and incorporated.
- Strain and serve with a sprig of thyme and a lemon twist.
TA DA! There you have it – a super delicious lavender martini. The lavender has a slight perfume taste while the gin and thyme give the drink a nice, herby flavor.
One, important note to make your drink even more delicious: use quality spirits. I know it costs a bit more to purchase a higher quality gin (or vodka, tequila, rum, or whiskey), but it really adds so much to your drinks. I use North Carolina-distilled Cardinal gin in my cocktails – it is produced, in small batches, in the North Carolina foothills using fresh and organic botanicals. And, if you don’t like gin, you’ve got to try this drink. I was a gin hater until I had a lavender martini made with Cardinal gin – now I love it!
So get your supplies together and get cooking – this martini is sure to satisfy your need for a delicious cocktail and impress your friends!