January Spirits: A Toast to Sweet Lavender Liqueur

It never ceases to amaze me the things I learn from customers. This past summer two different visitors told me about their experience with lavender and assorted spirits. One lady insisted the smoothest whiskey she'd ever tasted was flavored with lavender. I tucked the idea in my head, intending to experiment with lavender and booze later in the year. So in the relative calm of December I made lavender liqueur. Most formulas suggest steeping the aromatics of choice in spirits for a week. I let mine sit for 3 weeks at room temperature, strained out the culinary lavender buds, and then added a simple syrup to the remaining lavender-infused vodka. The result is a golden-toned, wonderfully fragrant concoction. Next week, I plan on making lavender mimosas to welcome the new year. Here's to 2013 everyone...raise a glass of lavender bubbly!


Lavender Mimosas: In a large pitcher, combine 2 cups fresh-squeezed orange juice (strained), 1/4 cup lavender simple syrup, 1/4 cup lavender liqueur, and 1 (750-ml) bottle Champagne (chilled). Stir gently to combine. For a fancy presentation, serve in champagne flutes (chilled first in the fridge to give them a frosted look). Or, for a relaxed, Southern-style presentation, serve in small, chilled Mason jars. Ice cubes are optional. Enjoy!