When the sweltering heat of summer hits, there’s nothing quite like a cold glass of homemade lemonade. Tangy, tart, and just enough sweet, it’s refreshing and quenches your thirst instantly. And now: add lavender.
Lemon and lavender are an iconic duo, a match made in heaven in both baked goods (looking at you lemon lavender scones) and cocktails (ahem, like a lavender French 75), and now, of course, in the best summertime drink around.
Even if you don’t consider yourself a lemonade lover (raises hand here!), this version is going to change your mind. It’s the perfect balance of flavors and can easily be turned into a cocktail when it’s time to get the party started (and stays a mocktail for those kiddos). A multi-purpose drink? You betchya.
First, About Lavender
Lavender is an herb from the same family as mint, thyme, and rosemary. It’s floral and herby with a distinct flavor. A little bit of lavender goes a long way, infusing a subtle flavor throughout drinks and baked goods. But use too much and your recipe can turn out to taste soapy (no good!).
So when following a recipe using lavender, don’t go rogue and add more or eyeball it, and especially in this recipe, taste test throughout the process as the potency of dried lavender (as with dried herbs in general) can vary.
Just 3 Simple Ingredients
Ok…plus water and ice. But honestly, if we already have those available to us, should we really consider them ingredients?!
- Dried Lavender Buds (Flowers): you absolutely need to make sure you are using culinary-grade lavender when cooking with it. Dried or fresh, if it’s not culinary grade, it can be laden with pesticides. Also, look for English or French food-grade lavender as these varieties have the best flavor for cooking. Many wild or yard-grown lavender varieties can be bitter.
- Granulated Sugar: the sweetener in the lemonade, turned into lavender simple syrup.
- Lemons! Of course, you can’t have homemade lemonade without lemons. And please, please, please use fresh lemons to make lemonade, not storebought lemon juice which can be too acidic with an unpleasant aftertaste. Fresh is best here!
These are my favorite culinary-grade dried lavender flowers. A lot goes a long way, so this package lasts forever!
Photo credit: www.amazon.com
Let’s Make Lavender Lemonade!
Making homemade lemonade is easier than you might imagine, and this method uses the simple syrup way so the lemonade is smooth and delicious without any risk of sugar granules throughout. The most labor-intensive part is juicing those lemons, but if you get yourself a decent citrus juicer, you’ll have it done in no time!
Step 1: Make the Simple Syrup
The sweetness and lavender infusion in this lemonade comes from making lavender syrup. Using simple syrup to sweeten lemonade is (IMO) a much simpler and more effective method of sweetening the lemonade.
There’s no excess stirring until sugar dissolves and hoping that it all actually did dissolve. It’s a hands-off process that really makes things easier in the long run.
In a medium saucepan, combine equal parts sugar and water (always see the recipe card below for full details) and the lavender flowers. Bring to a simmer, then remove from heat and set it aside while the lavender continues to infuse throughout the syrup.
The time you let the syrup sit really depends on how strong you want the lavender flavor to be. I recommend taste testing it as it sits, noting that the flavor will be diluted in the lemonade somewhat. But better to taste test it to ensure it doesn’t become too infused and ruin the flavor.
While the syrup does its thing, this is a perfect time to start squeezing out the juice from the lemons!
Step 2: Juice the Lemons
As I mentioned, fresh lemons are basically a requirement for this recipe. The flavor is unmatched!
Do note that the tartness and flavor of the lemons will vary by the variety of lemons you use. Meyer lemons are less tart than regular lemons you’ll find at the store. The sweet to tart levels can easily be adjusted to your preferences as you assemble the lemonade – more on that in a minute!
To easily juice the lemons, I recommend using a citrus juicer. There are many varieties of these on the market, and you can go as fancy or basic as you prefer. Here are a few options:
- Citrus Press– I find these pretty effective and the squeezing is pretty easy! Do note that when you use these, you usually have to put the fruit end-side-up (so cut side down in the curve). It’s the opposite of what feels intuitive, but this will get the most juice out.
- Hand Squeezer – I honestly love these things (I often use this OXO one for cocktails) because they catch the seeds and pulp, and have a separate container for the juice.
- Citrus Reamer – I prefer this when I’m juicing a small amount of citrus, but it’s effective if it’s what you’ve got.
- Legit Citrus Juicer – we’re talking backed by power, you can get a reasonably priced citrus juicer or a fancy electric citrus juicer. I don’t have one of these, but can see them being super useful if you plan on making lemonade on the ‘reg!
Step 3: Put it All Together
Once the simple syrup is flavored to your liking, go ahead and strain out the lavender flowers. The best way to do this and remove all the bits of sediment is to use a fine-mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth or a nut milk bag. You can also just use the strainer/sieve, but a few pieces will likely still slip through.
Then, stir together the lemon juice, simple syrup, and water. Stir to combine and add ice, adding more water to dilute the lemonade as needed.
As the ice melts, it will also water down and mellow out the lemonade, so be sure to reserve the ice if you don’t plan on serving it immediately.
Garnish each glass of lemonade with a lemon slice and a sprig of lavender as desired. Remember, only a sprig of lavender if it is culinary-grade!
This glass pitcher is sleek and modern. It’s perfect for storing beverages in the fridge with its steel lid with two pour-spout options.
Adjust as Needed
The lemon and sugar balance in this lemonade will really depend on two things: your lemons and your preferences.
I already mentioned that if you use Meyer lemons, they will be less tart and sweeter. As far as regular store lemons go, certain lemons are just more tart than their cousin next to them.
The biggest factor though is your own preference for sweetness or tartness.
This is why making homemade lemonade is so fun, because you can adjust it to be exactly what you want it to be! Here are a few troubleshooting methods for adjusting the sweetness and tartness of the lemonade until it’s to your liking:
- Water: start by adding only 3 cups of the water, taste testing, and adding more water if it’s too tart still, or if the lavender flavor is overpowering. Water is an excellent way to mellow out the lemonade. You can also let the ice melt a little without adding more water.
- More Lemon Juice: if it’s not tart enough, add more lemon juice.
- More Sugar: if it’s not sweet enough, or too tart, add more sugar. Do note that adding sugar on its own could result in a grainy texture if it doesn’t completely dissolve. Consider making more simple syrup if you need it sweeter.
Once you have how to make homemade lavender lemonade down, you can play around with different flavor combinations!
- Try Lavender Honey Syrup in place of the lavender simple syrup. Do note the honey will change the flavor profile.
- Substitute half of the lavender for rosemary, they compliment each other as they’re in the same family.
- Feeling spicy? Substitute in some ginger syrup for a take on a non-alcoholic Moscow Mule (or add vodka and hey, have a mule!)
- Add fresh berries – blueberry, strawberry, and raspberry would all be delicious!
- Turn it into a cocktail! When it’s time for the adults to gather, adding vodka or gin makes for a delicious and easy-to-make cocktail with lemonade. Perfect for BBQs, bridal showers, and more!
Make-Ahead & Storage
Absolutely! You can either mix up the lemonade in its entirety, leaving out the ice until serving, or make the syrup up to a week in advance until you’re ready to mix the lemonade together. Just keep the ice out until you’re ready to serve so it doesn’t get too diluted.
If you are storing it in the fridge to enjoy throughout the week, place it in an airtight container in the fridge, omitting the ice until serving. If you served the lemonade at a party and have already put ice it, simply store it in an airtight container like a pitcher or jar in the fridge for up to 4 days.
No, the flavor will be too overpowering for this recipe.
If you use fresh lavender, you will need to be sure it is culinary lavender – or food safe. It’s also less potent than dried lavender, so you will likely want to double the amount.
Yes, you can freeze both the lavender syrup and lemon juice. Combine the two without the water, essentially making a lemonade concentrate, and freeze it. Then, when you’re ready to use, thaw the concentrate, add your water, and enjoy.
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!
Get the Recipe Easy Lavender Lemonade
- 2 cups fresh lemon juice, approximately 4 pounds, or 10 lemons
- 3 cups cold water, more to taste
- In a small saucepan, combine sugar, water, and lavender flowers. Heat over medium-high heat until simmering, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved. Simmer for an additional 2 minutes.
- Remove from heat and let sit for 15-60 minutes to allow the lavender to fully infuse. I recommend taste testing at various points to ensure the lavender flavor doesn't get too strong. Strain the syrup into a jar using a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth.
- Meanwhile, juice the lemons until you've reached 2 cups. Transfer the juice to a large pitcher and stir in the lavender syrup. Add water, starting with 3 cups. Add more water (up to 5 cups total) depending on your desired tartness level. Taste test along the way and adjust as needed (see notes). The ice will melt and further dilute the lemonade.
- If serving immediately, add ice to the pitcher and stir to combine. If serving later, store the lemonade in an airtight container in the fridge without the ice. Then add ice to individual glasses and/or the pitcher before serving.
- Garnish with fresh lemon slices or wedges as desired and enjoy!
- Syrup: this recipe makes approximately 1 1/4 cups of syrup.
- Serving Size will depend on how much water you add. With the recommended 3 cups of water, you will have just over 7 cups of lemonade, serving anywhere from 8-10 people.
- Too Tart: add more water or additional sugar/simple syrup.
- Too Sweet: add more lemon juice.