Flower Power

Dear budding mixologist: There may be a drink in your garden

Karina’s Hibiscus Margarita

You can garnish drinks with olives, pearl onions, celery sticks, citrus peels or wedges, mint leaves and cherries. But nothing beats flower petals for pure beauty.

That said, why stop at the surface when floral essences have so much more to offer? “We enjoy experiencing things through our senses, and 80 percent of taste is smell,” says Frankie Thaheld, director of culinary mixology for the local Snake Oil Cocktail Co. Flowers add an unexpected fragrance and taste to drinks.

“Sometimes I use fresh flowers [as ingredients]; other times, I use extracts or hints of flower,” Frankie says. “I have used violet flowers and lavender wands with mashed blueberry, lemon, vodka and a touch of vanilla.” From time to time, he uses lavender leaves. “They deliver a greener variance of the fragrance,” he says.

Another of his creations is a jasmine cocktail with chocolate syrup, Amaro Averna and jasmine/green tea pearl-infused vodka.

You can make your own floral infusion by steeping petals like tea leaves. Don’t purée flowers, because cutting into the plant releases chlorophyll elements that taste bitter, Frankie coaches.

“Chamomile has more earthy components,” he says. “It’s already dry. You can make a traditional sour with a lemon and egg white base, steep the flowers like tea and then add sugar.” In one of his drinks, he combines a chamomile reduction with a little organic rose petal.

“Chamomile works with stronger liquors like whiskey or cognac, but not with gin and rum, which are noncomplementary flavors,” Frankie says. “Tequila also works with chamomile, but not with rose. Rose works with vodka, gin and pisco [a grape-based spirit]. I use hibiscus with rum; those flavors naturally go together.”

While fresh petals are best for garnishing a drink, dried flowers can be used as ingredients. “You lose those green, spring-time senses, but you gain more fragrance,” Frankie says. “It’s a matter of trial and error and how much flavor and fragrance you want.” Or, when flowers are in season, you can make a “jam” that can be used year-round. Frankie suggests a concoction with blueberries, lemon, lavender and violet.

If you don’t have flowers available, you can try flower-based liquors. St. Germain is a popular liqueur made from elderflower. Frankie especially likes Suze, a French brand of bitter that uses the roots of the gentian flower. “It’s beautiful; but if you add too much, it takes over,” he notes. His main
tip for using any flower-based liquors is to use them sparingly.

“Even if you don’t have flower-based ingredients, edible flowers are a colorful addition,” Frankie says. “It brings out the flavor and scent in a drink just by having it on top.”


Counterpoint’s Morning Glory
1 1/2 oz. Plymouth gin
3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
3/4 oz. crème de violette
Dash of sugar
2 dashes orange flower water
Morning glory for garnish
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously with ice and strain into a glass. Garnish with a morning glory.

Karina’s Hibiscus Margarita
1 oz. dehydrated hibiscus flower
1 oz. sugar
Lime wedge
2 oz. hibiscus concentrate
1 oz. fresh lime juice
1 1/2 oz. tequila
Blend dehydrated hibiscus flower with sugar on a plate to create a powder. Run a lime wedge along the rim of a margarita glass and then dip the rim into the flower-sugar mixture. Blend or shake the hibiscus concentrate, lime juice and tequila and pour into the glass.


Savoie’s La Bella
1 oz. Hendrick’s gin
1/2 oz. Campari
1/4 oz. St. Germain elderflower liqueur
1/2 oz. simple syrup
3/4 oz. lemon juice
4 blackberries
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice.  Shake and then strain into a glass. Add blackberries.

The Hake Kitchen & Bar’s Flor de Loto
1 1/2 oz. Montelobos Mezcal
1/2 oz. Lillet
1/2 oz. lemon juice
1/2 oz. crème de violette
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake with ice. Double strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with a flower.

Cucina Urbana’s Acqua Santa
1/2 oz. St. Germain elderflower liqueur
6 oz. prosecco
Splash of rosewater
Rose petal for garnish
Pour St. Germain in a flute glass. Add prosecco and a splash of rosewater on the top. Garnish with a rose petal.

Saltbox’s Pink Elephant Parade
Absinthe spritz
1 1/2 oz. Tanqueray No. Ten gin
1/4 oz. St. Germain
1/2 oz. Lillet blanc
1/2 oz. green chartreuse
1/4 oz. fresh lime juice
Star anise pod for garnish
Place a small amount of absinthe in a spritzer bottle and lightly spray the inside of a coupe glass. Combine the remaining ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into the glass and garnish with the star anise pod.


The Grant Grill’s Affaire Romantique

1 oz. Rémy Martin V grape spirits1 oz. Tempus
Fugit Crème de Cacao a la Vanille
4 oz. Sauternes
7-8 drops rose flower water
Rose petal for garnish
Stir all ingredients and strain into a small coupe. Garnish with a rose petal.

Snake Oil Cocktail Company
By Any Other Name

1.5 oz. Piscología Pisco
1 oz. lemon juice
1.25 oz. dried rose simple syrup (recipe follows)
.5 oz. coconut milk
1 egg white
Add all ingredients to a mixing glass.  Shake vigorously with ice.  Strain into a chilled rocks glass.  Garnish with a fresh organic rose petal floating on top.

Dried Rose Simple Syrup
2 c. sugar
2 c. hot water
1/2 c. dried rose petals
Blend sugar and water until sugar is well dissolved. Stir in rose petals. Allow to cool to room temperature. Strain out rose petals through a chinois. Bottle with a label indicating the date (keeps 30 days in refrigerator).

Lavandula
1.25 oz. watermelon purée
.5 oz. lavender wand simple syrup (recipe follows)
1.5 oz. Ketel One vodka
.25 oz. lime juice
Black sea salt-sugar (recipe follows)
Squeeze lime and add all ingredients in a mixing tin. Shake with ice. Strain into a chilled martini glass rimmed with black sea salt-sugar. Garnish with a lavender wand.

Lavender Wand Simple Syrup
2 c. sugar
2 c. hot water
3/4 c, fresh lavender wands
Blend sugar and water until sugar is well dissolved. Stir in lavender wands. Allow to cool to room temperature. Strain out lavender wands through a chinois. Bottle with a label indicating the date (keeps in 30 days in refrigerator).

Black Sea Salt-Sugar
1 oz. Kiwa Kai Hawaiian black sea salt
2 oz. sugar
With a mortar and pestle, grind the black salt into a powder. Blend in the sugar until well diffused.


Herringbone
Skinny Jenny (photo credit to Peter Harasty)

1.5 oz. citrus vodka
.5 oz. pressed lime
.25 oz. Lavender Syrup
Dash of bitters
1 oz. ginger beer
Fresh lime wedge for garnish
Combine the vodka, lime juice, lavender syrup and bitters in a cocktail shaker. Shake and strain over fresh ice into a Collins glass. Top with ginger beer and garnish with a lime wedge.

The Grant Grill
Affaire Romantique

1 oz. Remy V unaged cognac1 oz. Fugit
Crème de Cacao a la Vanille
4 oz. Sauternes
7-8 drops rose water
Stir all ingredients and strain into a small coupe. Garnish with a rose petal.
 


Jsix
My New Man

1/4 oz. chamomile honey syrup (recipe follows)
1 1/2 oz. hibiscus-infused vodka (recipe follows)
Lemon soda (recipe follows)
Pour syrup and vodka into a glass. Add ice and top with lemon soda.
Stir and garnish with orchid flower and lemon peel

Hibiscus-Infused Vodka
1 liter Belvedere vodka
5 oz. dried hibiscus petals
Pour vodka it into a 1.5 liter (or larger) container. hibiscus petals and macerate/steep for four hours. Strain out leaves and place vodka in a vessel for pouring. 

Lemon Soda
1 liter purified water
Zest of five lemons
Pinch of sea salt
Add zest and salt to water and allow to macerate for 24 hours. Pour into a soda tap and carbonate.

Chamomile Honey Syrup
8 oz. organic honey syrup
4 oz. water
3 stalks of fresh chamomile
Dilute honey syrup in water and bring to a light simmer. Add chamomile and let macerate for four hours. Strain out flowers.


Saltbox

Pink Elephant Parade
Absinthe spritz
1 1/2 oz. Tanqueray No. Ten Gin
1/4 oz. St. Germain
1/2 oz. Lillet Blanc
1/2 oz. green chartreuse
1/4 oz. fresh lime juice
Star anise pod for garnish
Place a small amount of absinthe in a spritzer bottle and lightly spray the inside of a coupe cocktail glass.
Put the remaining ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously.
Use a strainer and pour into the coupe glass. Garnish with a star anise pod.


Juniper & Ivy

Under the Rose
2 oz. vodka
3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
3/4 oz. maraschino honey
Rose water mist
Put all ingredients into a cocktail shaker. Shake and strain into glass a rocks glass with ice. Add a flower for garnish. Spray rose water on top.


Zymology 21

The Resurrectionist
1.5 oz. Ford gin
1 oz. rose petal Pimms (recipe follows)
1 oz. strawberry golden balsamic shrub (recipe follows)
.5 oz. lime juice
2 dashes of cardamom bitters
Absinthe-infused strawberry for garnish (recipe follows)
Rose petal for garnish
Put all ingredients except strawberry into a cocktail shaker. Shake with ice vigorously; strain into glass with fresh ice. Garnish with strawberry and rose petal.

Rose Petal Pimms
300 ml. London dry gin
300 ml. Contratto Bianco or a white vermouth
200 ml. Campari, or another bitter
100 ml. rose water
100 ml. orange liqueur
Combine all ingredients.

Strawberry Balsamic Shrub
2 lbs. strawberries
3 c. sugar
1 c. golden balsamic vinegar
Toss strawberries and sugar in a large bowl. Place in a covered container and refrigerate two to three days. The sugar will dissolve completely and make a strawberry syrup. If your syrup bubbles, it is starting to ferment; it is OK for it to mildly ferment, but this means it is ready. With a fine strainer, strain all the solids from the liquid. Add vinegar.

Absinthe-Infused Strawberry
1 strawberry
1/4 oz. absinthe
Packet of Sugar in the Raw
Slice a strawberry and place it in a cup. Add absinthe and light. Flambé strawberries for 30 seconds, then add sugar. Keep aflame until all sugar is melted. Skewer the strawberry slices.

 

Categories: Food & Drink