The 10-Minute Happy Hour can be as simple or as sophisticated as you like. For me the fastest and most delicious way to enjoy happy hour is to use what I have on hand, not to go searching for something I don't . This week blueberries and lavender were at my fingertips, thus resulting in a gorgeous pitcher perfect for the centerpiece of my weekend party and a fairly impressive happy hour requiring little effort.
Growing lavender has been one of my less exhaustive forays into gardening. Once planted it seemed to need little attention, grew evenly and filled the air with a decadent aroma. But now that it has flowered it's time to prune it back. Each year, usually in June or July, when you prune your lavender you should cut it back to about two inches above the hard wood (that's the woody looking stems sprouting from the ground).
The harvested lavender is awesome in all sorts of homemade goodies from soap to ice cream, and yes of course even cocktails.
Summer is prime blueberry season so it seemed only suitable to mix these two ingredients in a lovely simple syrup. You can also flash freeze blueberries and use the frozen berries as ice cubes or put them into water in your ice trays and have blueberry ice cubes to make this pitcher full even more inviting.
Save a few lavender sprigs for garnish and your drinks will look and smell amazing. Invite some friends over and toast your latest heat wave with an ice cold glass of this spritzy refreshing summertime sip.
Blueberry Lavender Vodka Spritzer
Makes a 32 ounce pitcher
1 cup blueberries, for ice cubes 2 cups vodka 3/4 cup blueberry lavender simple syrup* recipe below 4 ounces lime juice Soda water Fresh lavender for garnish
Divide the cup of blueberries between two ice cube trays and fill with water. Freeze completely. OR spread them evenly on a sheet tray and freeze until solid.
In a glass pitcher combine the vodka, simple syrup, lime juice, and club soda. Add ice cubes. Add remaining ice cubes to glasses. Pour the mixture over top and serve with a sprig of lavender.
Blueberry Lavender Simple Syrup Recipe
1 cup water 1 cup sugar 1 cup blueberries 4 lavender sprigs (or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried food-grade lavender buds)
Combine these three ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat to a low simmer and add 4 lavender sprigs (or 1 1/2 teaspoons of dried lavender) and keep on low heat for 10 minutes.
Strain pressing the blueberries to get all of their juice.
Maureen C. Petrosky writes what she knows, food, booze and parties. Author of The Wine Club, she appears regularly on The TODAY show to share her vices (and advice) with the world. For more info check out www.maureenpetrosky.com or follow her on Twitter @maureenpetrosky