I live in the South, where sweet tea is the reigning summer drink if you ask any local Georgian. Lemonade will always be the one to quench my summer thirst with its sour citrus pucker balanced perfectly with just the right amount of sweetness for my tastebuds.

That first taste can often bring back memories of my childhood, even though most of the lemonade came from a dried packet reconstituted with water.  As an adult, I can appreciate the difference in flavor when making lemonade from freshly squeezed lemons vs. my childhood version… and now that I’m in the South, I can grow those lemons myself!

Along with fresh lemons, adding aromatics to this summer drink brings another level of complexity and goodness that just makes sense. We have so many different aromatic herbs to choose from, but my favorite is the soft subtle hint I get from using lavender buds.

There are several ways to add an herbal note to your summer beverage. I asked myself - “should I share the recipe using lavender-infused sugar or perhaps the one with a simple syrup infused with lavender or maybe the lavender bud-infused tea base?”

The answer was, "Why not share all three!" giving you the option of choosing which method works best for you. I love to make it all three ways, and sometimes I might choose one over the other.

Each one of these methods will fulfill the end goal of having a delicious lavender-infused lemonade.  I’ve listed the three methods from the quickest to the one that requires more time and patience.  As I said, each one will give you grand results.

Lavender Tea Infusion (prep time: 20-30 minutes)

1 cup (236 ml) of water
1 Tbsp (5.62 g) of dried lavender buds

1. Boil water in a small saucepan. Remove from heat.
2. Add dried lavender buds and steep for 20 - 30 minutes.
3. Strain out the plant material and use this cup of lavender tea infusion as part of the water portion for lemonade.

Lavender Simply Syrup (prep time: 30 minutes)

1 cup (236 ml) water
1 cup (200 g) sugar, granulated
1 Tbsp (5.62 g) of dried lavender buds (or 2 Tbsp of fresh)
1 strip of lemon (optional)

1. Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan.  Boil the mixture until the sugar dissolves.
2. Remove the syrup from the heat and add lavender buds (and lemon zest).  Allow steeping for 30 minutes to infuse the sugar water with flavor.
3. Strain the liquid into a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
4. Use this to sweeten your lemonade.  Use as much or as little to reach your desired sweetness level.

Lavender Infused Sugar (prep time: 3 days)

1 Tbsp (5.62 g) of dried lavender buds
2 cups (400 g) granulated sugar

1. Layer or mix dried lavender buds into sugar and place in an airtight container.
2. Allow to set for 3 days before using.
3. Strain out lavender buds with a fine sieve.
4. Store infused sugar in an airtight container.
5. Use this in place of plain sugar in the recipe, or you can rim the glass with this sugar before pouring and serving your lemonade.

Fresh Squeezed Lemonade with a Lavender Twist

• 6 cups (1416 ml) of water (substitute 1 of the 6 cups with lavender tea infusion)
• 1 cup of sugar (200 g), granulated (substitute lavender infused sugar or lavender     simple syrup to your taste preference)
• 1 cup (236 ml) of freshly squeezed lemon juice (8-9 medium lemons)

1. Combine 1 cup (236 ml) water and 1 cup of sugar in a small saucepan. Place over medium heat and stir until sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat and set aside; allow to cool for 10 minutes.
2. Pour 1 cup (236 ml) of freshly squeezed lemon juice into a pitcher.  Add sugar/water mixture.
3. Add the remaining 5 cups (1180 ml) of water and stir well. Pour over ice and serve or transfer to refrigerator and allow to chill for several hours before serving.

If you try this recipe, share which method of infusing your lemonade with hints of lavender is your favorite. Or, if you’ve tried another aromatic herb in your recipe, share it in the comments!