When developing cocktail recipes from scratch, one strategy we like to use is pursuing a singular idea from multiple angles. Many contemporary cocktails lean heavily on techniques like juxtaposition, balance, or surrounding one flashy bottle with a supporting cast. But when one common theme is turned up to eleven, the results can be surprising and—occasionally— breathtaking. Natural ingredients are complex, and have layers and dimensions all their own. The stinger shows this with mint; the Jersey with apple, and the Trinidad sour with Angostura bitters. To our credit; this isn’t the first cocktail we’ve employed this strategy on. Both the High Divide and Nut Bunny attempt similar antics, but no recipe we’ve ever published has committed so fully and unrepententantly as this one. Like a tincture, but in drink form; it begins with intense scents of lavender, grape, juniper, and perfume. On the front of the tongue it’s more lavender, plus some wine and bubbles. The finish is a big ole punch of herbaceousness with juniper, violet, and you guessed it: more lavender. This drink will knock your socks off, for better or worse. Reach for it when you are ready to boldly kick off spring, or simply angling for a floral adventure. Like a good jasmine tea, it might not be for everyone, but for some there will be no substitute.
Despite what one might think, we found an herbaceous gin to be too overpowering in this drink. Lemon-heavy gins like Benhams or Bar Matt work well. Avoid intensely herbal gins like St. George Terrior. Sunday Gin makes a winter blend that lies somewhere between the two and offers a nice, balanced result. If you have the option, choose a neutral sparkling wine with a decent amount of acidity but not too much frutiness on the nose. That said, the bubbly doesn’t say much in this drink so don’t wait for the perfect bottle. It might be tempting to top this with a big sprig of lavender, but be aware that this will totally take over the nose and turn it into a lavender bomb. This might be what you want, or it might not be. When we photographed this drink, we were making it with a big pinch of culinary lavender. Since then, we’ve modified the recipe to include only 2-3 buds. It’s really up to you which direction you choose, but remember that it is easier to start with less and add more than it is to pick tiny buds out of a drink one by one.