If fairies were to drink something other than raindrops and morning dew, this would be it.
There’s a shop on Rivoli a few blocks from my apartment that sells honey. Only honey. Oh, and some health products made from honey or pollen. But really, it’s the back wall, entirely covered with different varietals of golden syrupy bee spit, that I’m interested in.
They have honeys from different regions of France and the world as well as honeys made by bees that only feed on a certain flower. Thyme, sunflower, pine, clover, sage. When I first arrived in Paris, I got myself a large jar of molasses-dark chestnut honey that I’ve been drizzling over slices of baguette smeared in good, salty butter.
Last week, I saw they had a sale on for lavender honey. I took a taster. Then another one. I bought a jar and brought it home.
Lavender honey is more opaque than any other honey I’ve seen. It has a whipped consistency and a creamy mouthfeel, with the lingering perfume and taste of flowers.
Despite the thunderstorms we’ve been enduring, it’s been hot and humid, so I decided to make a few glasses of cold lemonade with my wee jar of honey. Infused with rosemary, this lemonade smells and tastes like a spring stroll in the woods.
Lavender Honey Lemonade with Rosemary
If you can’t find lavender honey, use a honey with a mild flavor like clover or wildflower and add a handful of dried lavender along with the rosemary when you’re making the infusion.
You want to add the lemon juice with a lighter hand than you would with traditional lemonade here, to let the flowery, piney flavors shine through. This is also lovely with a shot of gin — the juniper flavor of the gin creates a lovely feminine rhyme with the lavender and rosemary.
Makes 1/2-2/3 cup of syrup, enough for perhaps 4-8 drinks depending on the size of your glass and how sweet you like your lemonade.
1/2 cup lavender honey
3-4 sprigs of rosemary
1/2 cup water
freshly-squeezed lemon juice
Combine the honey, rosemary, and water in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir to combine. When the syrup reaches a simmer, turn the heat down as low as it will go, put the lid on, and let the rosemary infuse for about ten minutes. Remove the lid and let the syrup come to room temperature. Strain into a jar. (It will keep in the fridge for weeks.)
Combine a couple tablespoons of the syrup with a few squeezes of lemon juice, water, and ice in a tall glass. Taste and adjust to your liking. Add a shot of gin if it’s past five. Add a sprig of rosemary for garnish, and a couple berries if you have them.
Music to drink by: Michicant (Bon Iver Cover) [Kina Grannis // The Living Room Sessions]