Try Your Hand at Botanical Cocktail Making With This Lavender-Infused Tom Collins

Sure, you may spritz lavender on your pillow to inspire a good night's sleep, but the herb can do more than ignite sweet dreams—it can sweeten your happy hour, too. That's where this Tom Collins-esque lavender-infused vodka recipe comes in, courtesy of Katipai Richardson-Wilson, the head bartender at Brooklyn's Dirty Precious.

In the recipe she shares here, Richardson-Wilson keeps it pretty simple: Besides the lavender and vodka, all she adds in is lemon, seltzer, and a mint garnish—but it's not the only way she likes to play with the herb. "I also like to mix it with grapefruit juice and salt or in a dry martini with a twist," she says.

As for some of the other all-natural ingredients Richardson-Wilson plays with behind the bar, she says lemon verbena is her favorite, which she infuses with rum for daiquiris and vodka for cosmos. "Vodka is the easiest to infuse because it has the most neutral flavor profile to begin with, but any alcohol works—we just made a delicious beet cachaca, for example—it just takes a bit more experimentation."

Ready to try it for yourself? Scroll down for the recipe for Richardson-Wilson's lavender-infused vodka cocktail and watch the video above to see how it's done.

Lavender Collins

1.5oz lavender vodka
.75 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
.5 oz tonic syrup or tonic water
2 dashes of Scrappy's lavender bitters (optional)
3 oz. soda
Mint spring, lemon wheel, or lavender petals for garnish

1. To make the vodka infusion, place half a cup of lavender petals in a 750 ml bottle of vodka. You'll need to remove an equal amount of vodka to make room for the flowers, but this can be set aside and added back in at the end. Or you can do everything in a larger container (like a liter-sized ball jar for example). The color will start to transfer to the vodka almost immediately, but we suggest allowing it to sit up to 72 hours for maximum results. You can either leave it in a cool dry cupboard or in the fridge/freezer while it's infusing.

2. Strain using cheese cloth or fine mesh sieve. Coffee filters work as well, but take more time.

3. Shake these ingredients and strain into a Collins glass.

4. Add three ounces of soda and top with ice. Garnish with a mint sprig, lemon wheel, or lavender petals.

If you're inspired to mix up cocktails on the reg, here are some healthy staples to stash your bar cart with. Or, serve up a kombucha float for something with more of a dessert-feel—it's good for your gut!

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