In Florida, they know how to keep cool.
Before electric refrigeration, ice was a valued commodity, harvested in vast blocks from frozen bodies of water. In hot, thirsty climates like Florida, those chunks of ice were even more valuable. They were railed south and kept in cool, concrete-lined buildings like the structure that’s now St. Augustine’s Ice Plant, built in 1927.
These days, the space has been transformed into a spacious bar and restaurant that serves up cocktails like the citrusy cooler below. But in homage to the Ice Plant’s frosty roots, they still carve ice from enormous 300-pound blocks to chill drinks.
Recipe courtesy of Anthony Auger for The Ice Plant, St. Augustine, Florida.
- 1½ ounces Fords Gin
- ¾ ounce lemon juice
- ¾ ounce lavender syrup*
- ½ ounce Tempus Fugit Gran Classico (similar to Campari)
- Soda water
- Lavender and mint sprigs, for garnish
Add first four ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well, and strain into a Collins glass over fresh ice. Top with the soda water, and garnish with lavender and mint.
1 cup sugar
1 ounce dried lavender flowers
Heat 1 cup of water and stir in sugar until dissolved. Add lavender flowers and let sit for 10 minutes. Strain and chill. Refrigerated, it will keep up to 2 weeks.
More Lavender Love
Lavender plays well with lemon, as illustrated in the drink above. So make the most of in-season citrus (particularly Florida citrus) by using leftover lavender syrup to sweeten lemonade. It can also add a light floral-herbal note to desserts like lemon pound cake, lemon curd tarts or lemon squares.