At Haven’s Kitchen, a café, cooking school and event space in New York City, they like to vary this Collins according to whatever fresh herbs are in season, infusing them into the simple syrup for a refreshing seasonal drink. Dried lavender, chamomile and dried hibiscus, which are available year-round, are also excellent choices. The recipe makes enough lavender-infused simple syrup for about 15 drinks.
For the lavender simple syrup:
- 2 cups (16 fl. oz./500 ml) water
- 3 Tbs. dried lavender
- 2 cups (1 lb./500 g) sugar
1 1/2 oz. (45 ml) vodka or gin
- 1 oz. (30 ml) fresh lemon juice
- 3 oz. (90 ml) sparkling water, chilled
- 2 thin lemon slices
- 1 fresh lavender sprig (optional)
To make the lavender simple syrup, in a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the water and lavender and bring to a boil. Add the sugar and cook, stirring, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and let the lavender steep in the liquid for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Pour the liquid through a fine-mesh sieve into a clear jar, pressing on the lavender with the back of a spoon to extract any liquid. Use immediately or cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
To assemble a drink, in a cocktail mixer filled with ice, combine the vodka, lemon juice and 1 oz. (30 ml) of the lavender syrup and shake vigorously until well chilled. Strain into a highball glass or tumbler filled with ice. Top off with the sparkling water, garnish with the lemon slices and lavender sprig and serve immediately. Makes 1 drink.
Adapted from a recipe by Haven’s Kitchen, New York City