It’s the longest day of the year and the official start of the summer season in the Northern Hemisphere, but did you know that the Summer Solstice is not just a another day on the calendar, to many cultures it is a day observed with celebrations dating back to ancient times. In fact each year over 35,000 people converge on Stonehenge to view the sunrise and sunset among the larger than life formation containing over 80 rocks – other cultural rituals include large feasts, traditional dancing and burning of a bonfire or yule logs.
For me there are two culinary reminders that the Summer Solstice is here – lemonade and lavender. I still can hear the calm voice of the Country Time Lemonade commercials from the 80’s letting us all know that “summer is just a short 94 days long this year…”, those precious fleeting days of warmth and feeling free, perfectly accented by the sweetness of a tall glass of lemony goodness. And as an adult, with a garden of my own, the sounds of bumble bees buzzing around the just opened lavender buds summon me to gathering them up and bring them into the kitchen to make a batch of lavender syrup has become a tradition marking the arrival of summer.
To date I have not had the opportunity to visit Stonehenge on the solstice however, I do hope to one day be able to experience this truly amazing site in person. Until then I will continue my own ritual of gathering with friends around a table full of the best the season has to offer, lingering long into the night to squeeze out every minute of day light and sipping on a cocktail inspired by childhood memories and my adult garden bursting with new buds. And so I offer my guests, and you, summer in a glass, the ultimate summer solstice cocktail….
- 1 1/2 ounces quality vodka
- 4 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tablespoons lavender simple syrup
- 2 tablespoons blue berries
- raspberries, for garnish
- lemon slices, for garnish
- In a chilled cocktail shaker filled with ice mix vodka, lemon juice, water and simple syrup. Shake to chill well.
- Place blue berries in an empty serving glass and muddle to break up the berries and release juices.
- Fill glass with ice and pour vodka mixture over top of ice. Top with raspberries and sliced lemon. Serve immediately.