It’s February, and of course, that means all things Valentine’s Day. Besides cupids and chocolate, what’s more synonymous with the Day of Love than roses? And even though we all love to be gifted roses, there’s always the question of what to do with them. Obviously they can be displayed in a vase, but where’s the fun in that? Roses have so many uses – from cuisine, to oils, to potpourri. But they can also be used as a drink ingredient. Check out some options below:
Rose Water: this is a versatile ingredient that can be incorporated into many types of beverages, generally for aromatics as opposed to flavor.
When your rose petals have dried up, pull enough from the stems to fill about half a cup and place in a bowl. Heat two cups of clean, distilled water until warm, not hot. Pour over water over dried rose petals, cover, and let sit until water is cool, generally about 20 minutes. At this time the petals should have faded, with some of the color transferring to the water. Pour liquid through a fine mesh strainer into a clean glass bottle. Seal, refrigerate, and use within a week. And remember — rose water is potent, so a little goes a long way.
Rose Syrup: yet another versatile beverage ingredient, rose syrup can be used in everything from cocktails to a simple club soda or lemonade. Don’t expect much in the way of aroma here, the rose essence is all in the flavor. But if you want your syrup to smell as rosy as it tastes, add a few drops of rose water or rose essential oil to your batch.
While your roses are still fresh, gather enough petals to fill about two cups. Fill a small pot with four cups of water, and bring to a boil. Add rose petals and two cups sugar, stir until sugar is dissolved, then turn heat down, cover, and let simmer for no more than 5 minutes. Once cool, remove rose petals and transfer syrup to a clean glass jar and seal. Refrigerate for up to 4 weeks.
Rose Infusion: add some fun and florality to your favorite spirit by infusing it with roses! Great for gin, vodka, and some white rums and blanco tequilas.
Take 10-20 fresh rose petals and add them to your favorite spirit. Store in a cool, dark place for no more than 5 days, making sure to shake the bottle at least once daily. When finished, strain out rose petals with fine mesh strainer, then strain again over cheesecloth to remove any extra floral debris. There’s no expiration date here, so feel free to store with your other spirits and start mixing!
One important thing to remember: always rinse your rose petals before use, and if at all possible, look for food grade flowers to use for consumption. Cheers!