Lavender Cocktails Rock the 'Hood

Lots of people equate lavender with soaps, sachets and lotions. And that's fair. So much of the reason lavender is even popular is due to its fragrance -- which is soft, fresh and somehow, purple.

But me, well, this Girl Drink Drunk likes my lavender like I like spiked ice tea and late-night Pocky: in my mouth.

Oh, yes, the herbaceous wonder is good for much in the culinary world --from smoothing out a marinade to amping up a shortbread cookie. It's also damn good at making a Tom Collins into something extra, extra, extra (yes, three times) special.

Neighborhood Services Tavern's general manager Jason Kosmas has the line on lavender love. During a recent conversation, he explained that he wanted to concoct something that would be perfect for Old Tom gin, which, is a sweeter gin than the usual varieties we get in blue bottles, and was until recently, unavailable in this country for around five whole decades. Kosmas decided on a traditional Tom Collins (the name actually comes from the gin brand) but wanted to add the lavender in for its aromatic qualities as well as its flavor.

He tried an infusion but wasn't satisfied, and he didn't want to muddle it lest it become too perfume-y. And for that we say thanks, because, well, it's the perfume-y mistakes that make people think lavender isn't so good on the tongue.

All he ended up doing was adding in fresh lavender leaves as he built the cocktail, giving it a quick shake and topping it off with soda. The natural essences came out perfectly with just the bustle of creation and so it was born: the Domino Fizz.

The perfect thing about the DFizz isn't so much that it will get you hammered -- because it will totally get you hammered if you a.) drink it too quickly, b.) aren't used to gin, c.) haven't eaten and are waiting for a table, d.) drink more than one -- it's that it is so unbelievably refreshing. Its smooth flavor is wonderful, for sure, but you're just not expecting how it's going to feel after it washes down. That "round" (Kosmas and I concurred on this description of the mouthfeel of lavender and Old Tom combined) sensation that fills the mouth after an icy, cold swig through a chilly metal bar straw, gives way to clean and crisp post-swallow.

I'm officially calling this my summer drink. I've also officially potted two lavender plants in its honor...and the hope that perhaps I can replicate the drink just once at home. Now if there was a rosemary recipe...

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Merritt Martin
Contact: Merritt Martin