the bindery lavender cookies cocktail

This Spring Lean Into Lovely Lavender All Around Denver

Adding a floral burst, lavender can make any food or drink taste of the season.

BY Linnea Covington

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Lavender in food isn’t a new thing, but lately the edible flower has taken root in restaurants and cafes in a pleasing way. Some chefs, such as Jennifer Jasinski of Crafted Concepts (Ultria, Rioja, Stoic & Genuine, and Bistro Vendome), use the buds all year long and have for years. Other establishments embrace the flavor for spring, adding it to beer, cocktails, and tea. Dive into the short-lived season at these six places, where lavender enhances, not hinders, the flavor. 

Lavender Everything at The Bindery 

Chef Linda Hampsten Fox has always been extra, in the best and tastiest way and we love her for that. And when it comes to lavender she tapped into her team to create three floral fantasies. On the bar side the Oaxacan Sunshine ($16) speaks to the chef’s traveling past with a mixture of tequila, lime, grapefruit, ginger soda, and lavender honey. 

Pair the cocktail with a lavender chocolate chip cookie, a gluten-free delight missing none of the richness one craves in a baked sweet. Also on the proverbial lavender menu one will find delicate lavender madeleines, those shell-shaped treats dating back to 18th century France. Choose one or all three. In each the floral notes remain subtle but there, so there’s no chance to overdose on lavender. 1817 Central St., Denver, thebinderydenver.com

the lynx cocktail at flight club downtown denver
Try a lavender cocktail dubbed The Lynx at Flight Club. | Photo by Linnea Covington

The Lynx Cocktail at Flight Club

Though one might not suspect a delicate lavender drink can be found at a lounge specializing in darts and flatbreads, The Lynx breaks the mold. Served in a goblet, the cocktail comprises lemon tonic, lavender syrup, and Empress gin, a spirit expression made purple with butterfly pea flower. It’s as pretty as it is tasty. Try it while doing a round of darts, or even game-free at the bar. 1959 16th St. Mall, Denver, flightclubdartsusa.com

Lavender Belgian Golden Ale at Mountain Toad Brewing

While the floral notes in the Lavender Belgian Golden remain tame, the beer packs a wallop with an ABV of 9-percent. Inside the lovely ale the brew team mixed in French culinary lavender, which lovingly pairs with notes of pear and sage. It’s only available in the spring, so come get a pint while it’s in its peak. Bonus, all beers at the Golden brewery are gluten reduced. 900 Washington Ave., Golden, mountaintoadbrewing.com

rioja bread service
Take a slice of the lavender sourdough at Rioja next time you’re there. | Photo by Crafted Concepts

Lavender Sourdough at Rioja

Even if you miss spring flower season, worry not, the lavender sourdough is available at chef Jennifer Jasinski’s downtown Mediterranean restaurant year round. The floral aspect of the bread service has been a highlight for years thanks to pastry chef Eric Dale. Indulge daily along with dishes such as Indian spiced red lentil soup, artichoke tortelloni, and braised short rib. Each compliments the bread perfectly. 1431 Larimer St., Denver, riojadenver.com

Pizza With Lavender Cheese at Bar Dough

Something about flowers and mushrooms really speak to the bright-yet-rainy aspects of spring. The team at this LoHi hot spot nailed the combination with Funghi, a wood-fired pizza laden with green garlic cream, roasted maitake mushrooms, chives, and a lightly whipped lavender ricotta on top. Add on the Lavender Bees Knees cocktail, and it’s the perfect flower-filled dinner. 2227 W. 32nd Ave., Denver, bardoughdenver.com

novo lavender chai in plastic cup
Indulge in the house-made lavender chai at Novo Coffee. | Photo by Linnea Covington

Lavender Chai at Novo Coffee

Jake, Joe, and Herb Brodsky opened the first Novo in 2002, bringing great, ethically sourced coffee to Denver ever since. Often the baristas create tasty specials, and the lavender chai is worth heading to any of the four locations. The syrup used is made in house, and can be added to the iced or hot version of the chai. Personally, both satisfy in a way Starbucks’ lavender latte never could. Check in with any of the four Denver locations to make sure they aren’t out, then enjoy this seasonal special. Various locations, novocoffee.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Linnea Covington

Linnea Covington is the managing editor of DiningOut. She comes to us with a long background in food, restaurant and drinks journalism. Over the last two decades she’s written for tons of publications including Denver Post, Washington Post, Forbes Travel Guide, 5280 Magazine, New York Magazine, New York Times, Time Out New York and more.
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