Every spring we plant an entire herb garden with one thing in mind, making cocktails! Our little garden has all kinds of aromatic herbs that we use to make syrups and infusions for our cocktails, from fresh mint and sage for cooling cocktails, to lemon verbena and lemongrass for tart tipples! As we reach the dog days of summer, and the garden really gets going, we love to find new ways to use some of the herbs that are at their peak, like our flowering lavender, which found its way into our Lavender Lemon Gin and Tonic Granita Cocktail!
In the summer, we are always looking for new cocktails that are refreshing and can help beat the heat. This year we have been all about frozen cocktails (like our frozen Negroni) as their very nature is a top notch way to cool down! We were kicking around ideas for new cocktails when we hit on the idea of a frozen gin and tonic. A frozen gin and tonic sounded intriguing as the gin and tonic has traditionally been a cocktail used to cool down on a hot day.
While a frozen gin and tonic sounds like a great idea, the problem with that is that they don’t typically freeze very well (thanks to gin being a pretty good antifreeze thanks to the alcohol) and adding a whole bunch of blended ice just dilutes the drink a whole bunch. There is another way however that you can make a frozen drink and that is to make a granita.
What is a granita you ask? A granita is a semi frozen mixture of sugar, a flavoring and a liquid that is commonly found in Italy and served as a dessert in the summertime. Related to the sorbet (speaking of sorbet, you totally have to check out our Blueberry Mint Sorbet Sparkling Rose Float) but with a chunkier, more crystalline texture owing to the way a granita is made.
Unlike a sorbet where the mixture is blended and then frozen, a granita is made by freezing and then regularly agitating the mixture as it freezes to separate the crystals and “fluff” the ice. The result is a dessert not unlike a shaved ice, but not quite the creaminess of ice cream or the fruity smoothness of a sorbet.
For our Lavender Lemon Gin and Tonic Granita Cocktail, we decided that we would make a granita using gin, tonic water and lavender simple syrup. The resulting granita was a delicious frozen dessert with the classic flavor of the gin and tonic plus a nice sweet floral burst from the lavender. While the sweet granita was pretty delicious, it was almost too sweet and needed something a little tart to bring it into balance and make it even more refreshing.
We decided that we would make a cocktail by adding a splash of fresh squeezed lemon juice into the Lavender Gin and Tonic Granita. Lemon and lavender is a great combination, and when added to the gin and tonic flavors of the granita, it made for a delicious sweet and tart cocktail that was absolutely delicious! We also added a little of our “Magic Blue Ice” which changes from a beautiful blue to a lavender purple when you add the lemon, which adds a real splash of flair plus looks appropriate for a drink with lavender!
The frozen Lavender Gin and Tonic Granita chilled down the cocktail and made this a great summer sipper! Give our Lavender Lemon Gin and Tonic a shot this summer and it might just be your next new favorite cocktail! Cheers!
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup lavender leaves or 10-12 sprigs of lavender
- 1/2 cup lavender simple syrup, cooled
- 17 ounces tonic water
- 5 oz gin (we used Hendrick's)
- .50 oz lemon juice
- 1 1/4 cup granita
- 1 1/2 oz lemon juice
- Magic Blue Ice
- sprigs of lavender and lemon slices, optional
- Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan, bring to a boil. Take off heat, add lavender and steep for 15 minutes. Strain and cool.
- In a baking pan, combine the cooled lavender simple syrup, tonic water, gin and lemon juice. Place in the freezer for 1 hour. Every hour for the next four hours, "fluff" up the ice with a fork and then place back in the freezer. After 4 times of doing the "fluffing" you should be ready to serve!
- Place the granita in a glass, top with Magic Blue Ice (optional), and pour the lemon juice over the blue ice (or the granita itself). Garnish with lavender sprigs and lemon slices. Cheers!