You could call citron presse lemonade but you really wouldn't be doing it justice. There's a rhythm that comes with this classic cafe drink, with the lemon juice, simple syrup, and water arriving separate and you mixing it to your liking. On my latest trip to France I explored Provence and the Rhone River area and loved how it, well, classic French it was. The summer weather meant people we're out at sidewalk cafes sipping cafe creme in the morning, citron presse midday, and Kir Royale in the afternoon.
So, though I hadn't had the drink in more years than I recall, I started ordering it on the regular. My favorite was in the town of Avignon where there was the simple, elegant but not-too-disrespectful twist on the classic with the addition of lavender. And that was enough, this simple riff totally made me fall in love with this classic French summertime drink all over again.
plus more for garnish
Combine 1 cup water with the sugar in a small saucepan, stir to dissolve the sugar, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer the simple syrup for 5 minutes, then remove from heat, add the lavender buds, and allow to steep and cool for 20 minutes. Using a fine mesh strainer, strain the simple syrup, discard the lavender, and set aside until ready to use.
Simple syrup can be made up to 2 weeks ahead.
To make one Citron Presse, add some lemon juice to the bottom of a Tom Collins glass and add a spoonful of simple syrup. Top with sparkling water, stir and taste, adding more syrup or lemon as you desire. Add ice, garnish with thinly sliced lemon and lavender then serve.
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