There is something about ordering a pitcher of margaritas that always makes you feel like you’re about to play a strange game of chicken. One pitcher becomes two, and then suddenly you wake up to a scene from The Hangover and you’re checking your Facebook to make sure there is no evidence of your debauchery. Or maybe that’s just me. I have a love/hate relationship with tequila in that I love it and then hate myself for maybe loving it too much the next day. There seems to be no middle ground for tequila and I, and I’ve found it is either the cold shoulder or a full-fledged love affair. For those of you with the will power to contain your infatuation, today’s cocktail is an infused tequila cocktail that is both soft and dynamic. The complexity that tequila brings to the table makes it ideal for infusions. This cocktail brings together a trinity of flavors that always remind me of spring: lemon, lavender and honey. Use this recipe as a base to create other cocktails, as well as other infusions. I’ve found that once you can master a base recipe, there are no bounds to what you can create to fit your preferences. The fun thing about making cocktails at home is that the only palate you need to please, is your own.
LAVENDER INFUSED TEQUILA
1.75 liter bottle tequila, preferably reposado*
¼ cup dried lavender flowers
*Reposado tequila is aged in wooden barrels or storage tanks between 2 and 11 months. The spirit takes on a golden hue and the taste becomes a good balance between the Agave and wood flavors. I’ve found that in this particular infusion the slight softness of reposado is appropriate with the lavender.
Pour the tequila into a 2-liter container. Add the dried lavender flowers. Stir to combine and let sit, covered, 4 to 6 hours. Using a funnel and fine-mesh strainer, strain the tequila back into its original bottle. Using a small ladle or spoon, press the lavender to squeeze out any remaining tequila. Discard the lavender. Cap the bottle and store.
HONEY SIMPLE SYRUP
Because of the viscosity of honey it makes it difficult to add to chilled cocktails. The best solution to this problem is to add water to honey to create a simple syrup. Again, this is a great base recipe for use in many other cocktails.
¼ cup water
¼ cup honey
Place both honey and water into a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Stir mixture together just until the honey dissolves and then remove from heat. Store in an airtight container in fridge.
NONE OF YOUR BEES WAX
GLASSWARE: rocks glass
GARNISH: Lemon peel
1 ½ oz lavender infused tequila
½ oz honey syrup
½ oz lemon juice
Add all ingredients to a shaker tin shake well and strain over new ice in a rocks glass
CROWD PLEASER: Make a pitcher of this by whisking together all ingredients and then add ice. If you want to serve in a punch bowl take a bunt cake pan and fill half way with water, sprinkle with dried lavender flowers and lemon peel. Place bunt cake pan in freezer to create a beautiful ice ring to put in your punch bowl. Well ain’t we faaanncyy?
DOUBLE DUTY: Been heartbroken by tequila like this senorita? Swap out tequila for gin or vodka for an equally delicious, albeit less thrill-seeking, choice.
LIKE A VIRGIN: Add 1 tsp of lavender flowers to your honey simple syrup for a wonderful base to a floral lemonade that will have everyone buzzing (I couldn’t help myself).
I definitely plan on making this recipe sometime in the upcoming months, I’m just going to make sure to clear my calendar for the days following. I’m due for some TV binge-watching and pizza eating anyway.
Cheers, and here’s to great love affairs!
Your neighborhood bartender,