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Homemade Rose Syrup

by Dennis Mayer January 3rd, 2013 | Ask the Bartender
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rose petalsI saw a recipe that included rose syrup.  I was wondering what rose syrup is.  Could I simply make it by infusing simple syrup with rose petals?

No, but you’re not too far away from an answer. If you want to make rose syrup at home, you have to make rose water (water infused with rose petals) first, then use that water to make the syrup.

There are a couple of different processes I’ve found listed online. One suggests simply steeping the rose petals in hot water, then straining them (though, apparently, you must pick your rose petals three hours after dawn, when the morning dew has evaporated.) Another recipe suggests making sort of a homemade still with a big pot and an inverted lid. Either way, if you plan on doing this regularly, make sure you’re buying organic rose petals, or, if using your own, that you don’t use any pesticides or other chemicals in or around your rose garden.

Either way, after you collect your rose water, measure it, and in a pot big enough for twice the liquid you’ve collected, mix the rose water with an equal amount of sugar (i.e., 1 cup sugar to 1 cup rose water.) Stir the mixture over low heat until the sugar has evaporated, and store the rose water in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Rose syrup is an ingredient in a few cocktails, and is considered an Eastern ingredient. With a bit of almond extract, it becomes orgeat syrup, which is a crucial ingredient in a Mai Tai, along with a few other cocktails we’ve listed below.

Japanese cocktail (from Jerry Thomas’s 1887 bartender’s handbook)

  • 1 tablespoon orgeat syrup
  • 2 dashes  bitters
  • 2 oz. brandy
  • 1-2 pieces lemon peel

Combine liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker over ice, and stir well; strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with the lemon peel.
Whiskey Daisy (also from Thomas)

  • 3-4 dashes gum syrup
  • 2 dashes Orgeat syrup
  • Juice of half a lemon
  •  2 oz. whiskey
  • Soda water

Combine whiskey, lemon juice, and syrups in a cocktail shaker, and shake to combine. Strain into large glass, and fill with soda water.

Mikado (from Savoy Cocktail Handbook)

  • 2 dashes Angostura
  • 2 dashes creme de noyau (bitter almond liqueur — amaretto can be substituted in a pinch.)
  • 2 dashes orgeat syrup
  • 2 dashes curacao
  • 2 oz. brandy

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, and shake to combine. Strain into a cocktail glass and serve.

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