Friday, July 15, 2011

An Experiment Making Lavender Vodka

 I decided to experiment with making lavender vodka.  Here's how this came about:  I found some food grade lavender oil on ebay from Faerie's Finest, a cool company that sells teas, herbs, spices and oils.

Had this stuff sitting on my desk at work--to do some cleaning--someday--and out of the corner of my eye it looked like Gatorade G2 grape, but smelled like lavender.  You don't want to drink this.  But I reached for it several times thinking it was G2.  But it spawned the idea of drinking something lavender.

A friend of a friend made some sort of Cherry Liqueur from tart cherries, vodka and sugar.  Then let it sit for a month or so, and voila, Cherry Bounce.  I could never remember the name, though, so I called it Cherry Bop (probably a Little Bunny Foo Foo short circuit in my brain.) 

Found this in an antique shop...

My brother Tony says "they" ran a taste test and the cheapest vodka available, run through coffee filters, will beat expensive vodka.  And I didn't want to waste good vodka if it didn't work out. 
1/2 cup of raw sugar, 1 oz food grade lavender and five coffee filters.

Cheapest vodka I could find, about $8 a fifth at the Hy-Vee.

The jar is washed out well.  Okay, maybe not that well, but I figure the alcohol will kill bacteria.  Five filters installed.

Otie wants to help, but doesn't get too close.

Dripping, dripping, dripping.

1/2 cup raw sugar (and yes that is a plastic cat food bowl)

Raw sugar is added.

You'd think coffee filters saturated with alcohol would burn really well...

The lavender oil is added, clouding it up.  Now I just need to shake it every few days to dissolve the sugar.
And those stupid filters didn't burn well at all.  Dang cheap vodka.  Had to wait until they dried out before they'd burn in our charcoal grill.
Here's the end product...It's mostly clear, a little cloudy from the lavender oil, and isn't really as yellow as it looks in this picture.  I was a bit worried shaking it every day...the little bits of oil collected together at the almost looked like mold growing, and I wondered if there would be poisoning involved.  But it is just fine.  (Won't guarantee yours, though, if you try this at home...)

Taste tests:
#1: Took about half a shot on an empty stomach.  Bad idea.  If you associate lavender with soap, it may taste soapy to you.  But it actually reminded me of some Franciscan made Amaro liqueur, sort of an herbal disgestif (or bitters) that I had in Italy. Probably better as an after dinner drink.

#2:  I made a small sample of butter cream frosting (okay, about a cup) and added 2 tablespoons of lavender vodka to it, on the theory that VANILLA is just vanilla bean and alcohol, so lavender vodka would be the lavender equivalent of vanilla.  The frosting is a bit strongly flavored...would try about a teaspoon, and then add more lavender to taste.  The first frosting taste is a bit reminiscent of soap, but the second, third, etcetera is really good.  Now if I only had some cookies to frost.  Bad idea to sit and eat a cup of frosting by itself.

(1/2 c confectioners sugar, 2-3 Tablespoons butter, Lavender vodka, dabs of water until it reaches the consistency you want)

Here's a link to a recipe for Lavender Honey Ice Cream 


  1. If you want to sit and eat a whole batch of frosting, I will support your right to do so. I wonder, however, how it would work if you used lavender for flavoring in the cookies.

  2. Thanks for your support of the right to eat weird things! Lavender flavoring would probably be very good in butter or sugar cookies. I have some lavender flowers to include in the dough on my next experiment.


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