So spring is here! At least it was, until a few days ago, when mid Missouri decided to put it in reverse and go back to winter for a week or so. But the leaves are back, the dandelions are back, the dogwoods are flowering and the cardinals are chirping. And warmer weather will be back soon too. Fresh fruits and cool fruity drinks are all I have on my mind these days!
And to celebrate those brighter, longer days outside, and all the colours and the spirit of spring, I’ve got a beautiful Lavender & Blackberry cocktail for you today! Made with Lavender Syrup and Blackberry ice cubes, this drink can also be turned into a mocktail easily with sparkling grape juice.
The one thing I miss around this time of the year though is having my own garden. Since I moved out of my parents’ house, I never had an apartment with a garden. And that scenario hasn’t changed yet either. My grandfather was an avid gardener, a trait that was passed down to my father, and then to me. Unfortunately I haven’t had an opportunity yet to put that interest to good use since I don’t have my own garden, but let me tell you, I have big plans my friends, BIG plans for that day when I do finally get that opportunity! 🙂
We used to have a beautiful garden in my parents’ old house in New Zealand, where my dad grew some lavender bushes right next to our patio. I used to love hanging outside on the patio because of that amazing lavender smell. There was one summer when I became obsessed with lavender and started making all kinds of dessert with it. I loved making lavender syrup and lavender infused milk which then resulted in gorgeous dairy-free lavender and strawberry creme brulee and adorable white chocolate lavender truffles that I gave away to all my friends and neighbours for Christmas! (Yep, Christmas in the summer can be pretty awesome too!).
That lavender obsession hasn’t deserted me yet and that’s why this delicious lavender sugar syrup came to be! I have previously made this with fresh lavender florets, but in this recipe I used culinary grade dried lavender. I let them steep in the sugar syrup overnight before straining the syrup. The floral fragrance and quality makes it a lovely addition to so many things. It’s so simple to make and so delicious and the uses for it are endless (more on that later!), but for now let me tell you about this incredible Lavender Syrup Blackberry Cocktail!
This truly is the perfect spring/summer cocktail for brunch and cocktail parties. Although to be honest with you, I wouldn’t mind having this any time of the year. So fellow southern hemisphereans (I’m fairly sure I just made up that word), do not despair!
A nifty trick I used for this drink –
Apart from freezing blackberry puree, I also froze some fresh blackberries, which were both used as “ice cubes” to keep this drink nice and cool. You can of course use regular ice cubes or crushed ice, but it waters down the drink as it melts and that’s not ideal now is it? Using fresh fruit as “ice cubes” on the other hand means – No diluted drinks, PLUS you get an extra burst of fruit flavour as the ice melts! How cool is that? (pun totally intended!).
The lavender syrup works beautifully in this cocktail, which is fruity, floral, fizzy and absolutely refreshing! The blackberry “ice” is really like a sorbet. I love the colour of this drink too, which gets darker as the blackberry ice melts away. I found that the blackberry ice melted really slowly (which may not necessarily be the case on a hot, sunny day outside though), so I even topped up my drink with more prosecco and lavender syrup for a second hit of bubbly! 🙂 What’s really neat is how each sip tastes slightly different as the blackberry ice continues to melt and intensify the fruity flavour more.
- 6 oz Blackberries for the Blackberry ice cubes
- 1 recipe for Lavender syrup (recipe below)
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 bottle of Prosecco (or sparkling grape juice for a non-alcoholic version)
- Frozen blackberries to serve (optional)
- Puree the blackberries (in a small food processor or blender) and divide this into 8 -10 portions and freeze them in an ice cube tray, overnight. (optional - strain the puree to remove the seeds if you like that better).
- In 4 glasses (not flutes), place 2 blackberry ice cubes, 3 tbsp of lavender syrup, about 2 tsp of lemon juice and a few frozen blackberries (optional).
- Top each glass with prosecco. Serve with a stirrer.
- 1 cup granulated white sugar
- ¾ cup of water
- 2 heaped tbsp (3g) culinary grade dried lavender
- Place all the ingredients in a small saucepan.
- Heat while stirring on medium heat until the sugar is dissolved.
- Bring it to a boil and then lower the heat to simmer for 5 minutes, until it becomes syrupy.
- Let the syrup cool down with the lavender florets inside, for at least two hours or until it reaches room temperature (I leave mine overnight, this helps intensify the flavour).
- Strain the syrup into an airtight jar.
The effervescence you get from the prosecco and the fruity and tart blackberry flavour combine to give you an intense and refreshing flavour that will wake your taste buds right up. And then you have the deliciously lingering floral sweetness of the lavender syrup. The little bit of lemon juice makes all the flavours really pop. I have always loved a good bubbly, but the flavours in this cocktail take it to a whole new level!
Stay tuned for more refreshing fruity cocktails in the next few months! As it gets warmer and then hotter, nothing’s going to hit the spot quite like a beautiful cocktail like this! 🙂
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