All over the Keweenaw, gardens are putting out tender buds of pastel color, while tiny wildflowers are sprouting in woodland hollows.
Here at KCW, we're leaning into this floral theme with our featured ingredient of the month:
While it's best known in the US as an ingredient in soap, perfume and potpourri, lavender is a common culinary herb in Europe, particularly in the Mediterranean region. A member of the mint family with a truly complex flavor, lavender can play both sides of the menu.
On the savory end of things, lavender can be used interchangeably with fresh rosemary in recipes like meat marinades, vinaigrettes, and savory baked goods. It’s also included with marjoram, thyme and savory in herbes de Provence seasoning. On the sweet side, lavender is an intriguing complement to ice cream, buttercream, citrus, and berries.
The taste of lavender is hard to pin down—with its woodsy, smoky, bitter, and peppery notes, lavender is one of those rare ingredients that asserts itself by drawing the nuance out of whatever you pair it with.
Which brings us to our favorite use for lavender: our Honeysuckle Latte.
Born from pure spring fever, this drink features the wild sweetness of Sleeping Bear Farms Star Thistle Honey balanced with the earthy bitterness of lavender blossoms. Like a tender crocus popping through a pile of dead brush, the dry depth of lavender highlights the cinnamony warmth of this unique Michigan honey. Whether you drink it hot or iced, with or without a squeeze of lemon on top, the Honeysuckle Latte keeps the taste of springtime on your tongue.
Seeing as the forecast calls for some seriously dreary weather ahead, we thought we’d do our part to brighten your day by sharing an easy version of the Honeysuckle Latte recipe that you can make at home. Try it anytime those April showers get you down--just one sip will get you dreaming of May flowers again.
This honey- and lavender-infused latte is a KCW seasonal favorite. Try it hot or iced for a springtime lift...and don't miss the lemon squeeze on top!
- Brewed coffee - 8 ounces
- Milk (dairy or alternative) - 4 ounces
- Lavender-infused simple syrup (see below) - 1 teaspoon or to taste
- Honey - 1 tablespoon
- Lemon slice for garnish
Lavender Simple Syrup
- Dried lavender flowers - 1/2 cup
- Water - 1 cup
- Sugar - 1 cup
- Add water, sugar, and desired amount of lavender into pot, and bring ingredients to a boil.
- Once at a boil reduce heat to a simmer, and continue stirring until liquid thickens.
- After your syrup thickens using a fine-mesh strainer pour the contents of your pot through the strainer into a cooling vessel.
- Allow your syrup to cool completely. Syrup will continue to thicken as it gets cooler, which will make a difference when measuring for drink recipe.
- Add honey and lavender syrup to a pitch or an extra-large mug. Add a small amount of hot coffee or hot water to liquefy the honey.
- Add milk and stir until all contents are fully blended together.
- Pour 8 ounces of coffee to your favorite mug.
- Add honey/lavender-infused milk to coffee.
- Garnish with a twist of lemon, and enjoy!
Want It Iced?
Use the same recipe, but brew your coffee a little stronger than normal (a little more grounds, a little less water). This will help your drink maintain its flavor as the ice melts. You'll also want to wait until your coffee is room temperature before mixing with other ingredients.
Photo credit: Harbor and Pine