bottled rose water for cocktails

Rose water in cocktails

By Timo Torner / Last updated on September 8, 2022

First published on May 14, 2022 

Rose water is a product made from rose petals, water, and a byproduct of rose petal distillation. And it can be a terrific way to upgrade your drinks.

Rose water is part of various food and drinks recipes. It's a kitchen staple in the Middle East, India, and Asia and has a beautiful floral scent and quite an intense flavor. However, if you don't know what you're doing, it can quite quickly become overpowering. But what exactly is rose water, and how can you use it in cocktails?

What is rose water?

Rose water is intensely flavored water. It's made by steeping rose petals in water and mixing them with a byproduct of rose petal distillation. Rose petal distillation is a process for making rose oil, which, in turn, is used for perfumes and such.

The hydrosol part of the byproducts of this distillation ends up in rose water and creates an even more intense rose aroma and flavor.

What is rose water used for?

Rose water is often used in sweet drinks and foods in Middle Eastern and Asian cuisine. Sweets like Turkish delight, Nougat, baklava, lassi, and rice pudding are great examples of using rose water to add flavor.

It is also the base of rose syrup, another cocktail ingredient that shouldn't be confused with rose hip syrup. Rose hip is the fruit of certain rose plants. Those fruits can be eaten raw, just like berries but are also often used to make jams, jellies, and syrup.

Also, in alcoholic drinks and cocktails, rose water makes for a brilliant addition. Drinks that incorporate the rosy, fragrant ingredient are often sweet, floral, and not rarely bright pink.

You can make your own rose water at home. In fact, there are many different ways to make rose water at home. Though, most of them will result in a less intense version of it.

The original purpose of rose water

Traditionally rose water is often used for foods, cosmetics, and even in religious ceremonies. Especially in Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine, the flavored water is part of sweet drinks and foods.

It's also used in cosmetics. Rose water is part of perfumes, oils, cold creams, and even face wash. Especially in India, it's still commonly used as a perfume or moisturizer or a welcome treatment for guests at an Indian wedding.

It is also an element of religious ceremonies in Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, and others. There, rose water-based beverages are also often used to replace Champagne.

Rose water vs. rose syrup

Rose syrup and rose water are not the same things. The flavored rose water is added to drinks for its aroma. Rose syrup, on the other hand, is a syrup based on rose water. It gets sweetened with sugar and spiced with bourbon vanilla and a pinch of salt.

Rose water syrup can be used for replacing regular simple syrup. Like that, you can add a floral touch to cocktail recipes like a Gin Sour or Gin Fizz.

Rose water in cocktails

Cocktails made with rose water often have a distinctive floral vibe. Therefore, you best pair it with clear spirits like Vodka or Gin. This way, the delicately sweet and floral notes don't get lost. And when combined with a bright rose-colored syrup, like our pink dragon fruit syrup or raspberry syrup, you can also bring some rosy color to your cocktails.

Rose water Gin Fizz

Rose water Gin Fizz

1.5oz Dry Gin
0.75oz Lemon juice
0.75oz Rose water syrup
Top with soda water

1. Add Dry Gin, lemon juice, and rose water syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake until well chilled.

2. Strain into a chilled glass with ice and top up with soda water.

The elegant flavor combination of rose and lemonade creates a bright and refreshing cocktail. This sweet and floral twist on the classic Gin Fizz is a perfect way to incorporate rose water in a mixed drink.

Rose Water Lemon Drop Martini

Rose water lemon drop Martini

3oz Vodka
2oz Rose water
1oz Lemon juice
1 tbsp Agave syrup
sugar and rose petal mixture for rim

1. Rim your glass with the rose petal and sugar mixture.

2. Then, add all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.

3. Strain into the prepared glass and enjoy.

Again, lemon and rose build the base of the drink. And when combined with slightly more Vodka than usual and a touch of agave syrup. The result is a delicious floral take on a Lemon Drop Martini.

Pink Rose

Pink Rose cocktail

1.5 oz Gin⁠
0.5oz Safari⁠ liqueur
1oz Lime Juice⁠
0.75oz Homemade Pink Dragon Fruit Syrup⁠
0.25oz Rose Water⁠

1. Add all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.

2. Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice and garnish with a lime wheel.

Benefits of rose water

Rose water has been used for thousands of years already. Not only in foods and drinks but also for other purposes. The reason is that the fragrant water made from rose petals has countless health benefits. To give you an idea of where it can help you, here's a list of rose water benefits.

  • Soothing skin irritations
  • Helps healing scars
  • Help with sore throats
  • Relieves headaches
  • Reduces red skin
  • Contains plenty of antioxidants
  • Mood enhancer
  • Helps with digestion

Usually, rose water is not harmful in any way. Potential allergies are the only thing you should check prior to using it.

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