LAVENDER DREAM COCKTAIL
Let’s get this out of the way first. Lavender Dream is a cocktail… an alcoholic cocktail. So, NO it is NOT healthy, but it is DELICIOUS!! So, yes this definitely falls squarely in the 20% category of my 80/20 rules. So with that…. Let the fun begin!
After finishing undergrad I decided to try my hand at bartending. Seemed like a perfect Clarke Kent job — plenty of pay, time to audition, and fun. The reality was quite different — dealing with crazy drunks and being followed home. For my own safety and sanity I quit that profession in the blink of an eye. I did however pick up great mixology knowledge and spent time making up my own specialty drinks. I created this one to go along with my themed dinner parties because it’s fast, simple, and delish…. Plus it pairs well with Chinese, Thai, and Japanese dishes.
I picked up a Bottle of Takara Plum wine at 99 Ranch Market. It is not too sweet and it was reasonably priced. Pick whichever kind you like, but make sure to taste before adding the simple syrup. If you buy a sweet plum wine then use less syrup later.
I don’t traditionally drink Vodka…. I’m a Scotch neat kinda girl. So, when I was at Trader Joe’s (grabbing that coconut creamer for last weeks Thai Ice Tea) I grabbed a bottle of Vodka. I had never tried this one before. I’d normally swing for a more expensive brand, but this got amazing ratings online so I figured why not give it a try. It’s a one-liter bottle of smooth, dry vodka that mixes and sips equally well for just $9.99. Most importantly it didn’t give me a headache like most Vodka at this price point. Plus, I only needed one cup for this so no harm no foul. I used the remaining Vodka to create Limoncello (recipe for that will be on the blog in a few weeks).
The Lavender Syrup is fairly a simple task… i.e. it’s a simple syrup (hot water and sugar) with fresh lavender buds thrown in. I got my lavender from a friend that happens to have several bushes in her garden. But, don’t fret there are lots of places to buy it on line like Amazon and Vitacost (my favorite place). You can also purchase it in stores like Vitamin Shoppe, Wholefoods, Sprouts Market (has them in the bulk section and tea aisle). You don’t want a BLENDED tea, just pure lavender buds that are food grade… so don’t go buying potpourri thinking it’s safe to drink. I add roughly 2 Tablespoons of Lavender buds into a TEA BALL and let it boil with the water. Then I add the sugar and let it dissolve. I also add a tablespoon of frozen blueberries to give the drink/syrup a subtle purple tint.
Side note: Let’s talk about the amazing benefits of lavender. Most people don’t normally think about using it in food or drinks, but let me tell you it’s amazing!!!! It is good for the mind and spirit, as well as the taste buds! Some of the most important health benefits of lavender include its ability to relieve stress, improve mood, promote restful sleep, reduce inflammation, lower skin irritation, prevent infections, eliminate dandruff, and soothe stomach bloating. My favorite thing to do is add it to lemon dishes… like my Lemon Curd recipe (which will be up on the blog in a few weeks!)
Now putting it all together is fairly straight forward, but it’s not a precise science because depending on your ingredients and the size of your pitcher the amounts can change. But, it’s definitely not difficult to make.
First, I fill whatever container half way with ice. This is very important! It will keep it from being too strong tasting because this is meant to be a slightly sweet and mellow cocktail with dinner, not something to lay you out on the floor. Next add the Plum wine until it covers the Ice. Third you add the vodka. I keep the ratio 3:1… So for every 3 cups of wine, I add one cup of Vodka. For this pitcher I used 1 Cup of Vodka. After the lavender simple syrup cools down, throw that in as well. Stir it all together.
The end result should be a slightly pale purple drink that is a little sweet and infinitely sippable with a lavender finish. If the taste is too strong add more ice.
So just slip off your shoes, have a drink and settle in for the evening.
- Plum Wine (mine was Takara but other easy to find brands are Choyu Umeshu, Gekkeikan, Fuki <mid range, less sweet/higher quality drink> Kinsen or Kikkoman <cheaper brands are usually too sweet>)
- Vodka (Mine was Vodka Monopolowa (80 proof and easy to drink). Do yourself and your friends a favor… don’t use the really cheap stuff. You aren’t using a lot here, so better to find something decent that won’t ruin the flavor of this light cocktail and won’t give you a headache later.
- Lavender Buds
- 1 C Water