Want to sip something purple? Here's how to make lavender lemonade, with or without booze
Me and the Bees founder Mikaila Ulmer and her mom, D'Andra, hosted a little pop-up lemonade get-together a few weeks ago.
The front yard gathering was one of the first media events I'd been to since vaccinations became available. It was sweet to see some familiar faces and sip on a drink they came up with for the event: a purple-tinted lavender lemonade from Austin bartender Coleman DeWayne Steagall, who owns a pop-up bar service called Jitters Espresso & Spirits.
The family behind the Austin-based lemonade company was celebrating a recent expansion into 800 Target food cafes, where customers can now find Me & the Bees in three flavors: Classic, Prickly Pear and Ginger.
A day in the life:Me and the Bees founder Mikaila Ulmer
Ulmer, whose first book came out a year ago, started selling lemonade when she was 4 years old, and she continues to run the company. The 16-year-old rising senior has been staying busy with school, even during the pandemic, while expanding the business to all 50 states for the first time.
It was fun to check in with her and get the recipe for this brightly colored drink that's perfect for summer. I've never worked with butterfly pea flowers before, but this seems like the perfect first recipe to try them. This drink could easily transform from a mocktail to a cocktail with a splash of spirits, if you prefer.
Lavender Simple Syrup
You can find dried butterfly pea flowers online or in specialty food stores. The brightly colored petals don't lend any flavor to this syrup, but they will give the syrup a beautiful blue, almost lavender, hue.
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons lavender buds
- 1 tablespoon dried butterfly pea flowers
Add sugar and water to a saucepan, bring to a simmer and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the dried lavender buds and butterfly pea flowers, continuing to simmer, and stir occasionally for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool, then cover for 2 hours to continue steeping. Strain out the lavender and pea flowers, then funnel into a glass container. Keep refrigerated. It will be a beautiful, deep lavender color. You can substitute the homemade lavender simple syrup with an off-the-shelf brand, such as Monin or Torani.
- 3 ounces Me & the Bees Classic Lemonade
- 1 ounce lavender simple syrup
- 1/2 ounce lemon juice
- Ice, for shaking and serving
- Lemon wheel, lavender sprig (for garnish)
In a shaker, combine lemonade, lavender simple syrup, lemon juice and ice, then shake. (For larger batches, multiply ounce quantities by number of servings desired, and use a pitcher instead of a shaker and stir 20 times.)
Pour drinks into a 10- to 12-ounce glass over ice and top with a dash of sparkling water. Garnish with a freshly cut lemon wheel and a sprig of dried lavender.
— From Coleman DeWayne Steagall, Jitters Espresso & Spirits