A few weeks ago, while working in Cardiff for a weekend, I was tempted by a delightful-sounding cocktail which included, among other things, a lavender and rosewater liquer. I love lavender and thought it sounded like something I had to try. I did. And then had a second. The perfume of the lavender was palpable and haunting, and stayed with me for ages. So I got to thinking. I have a wall of lavender at my house. There's an entire bed of dwarf lavender lining the north side of the house and the driveway.
I also have lots of old rosebushes, courtesy of the original owner of the house. I even had a full bottle of vodka. Clearly experimentation was required.
So I cut a pile of lavender heads and popped them in a colander. Then I collected rose petals and washed the lot, checking each petal for unwanted passengers.
I put all of these into a large clip-top jar and topped with vodka. The result was stunningly pretty.
This was duly put on my sunny, west-facing kitchen window sill to sit in the sun and cure, beside its cousin with a few lemons preserving (there will be more lemons added).
Then I went to the allotment for a couple of hours. By the time I got back, the beautiful pink and purple colours of the petals had gone brown and the vodka was a deep pink colour. The alvender had fared better than the rose petals but had definitely leached colour. The pinky colour of the liquer was not the delicate purple the liquer had been (although I'm sure it was made with extracts and dyes). I let it sit for another couple of days and then opened the lid to take a sniff. And immediately reeled back!!! The scent of essential oils was overpowering. But amazing. I think this is more of a perfume at the moment, rather than something to drink. I'll probably end up diluting this in drinks or with more vodka. And I'll also probably try a pure lavender version, using significantly fewer flowers. But I'm happy with the result so far. It will be a little bit of summer, kept in my pantry.