There's Nothing Like Flowers to Suit Your Summer Fancy and Your Fancy Cocktails
You have to admire the creativity of today's bartenders, or mixologists as many prefer to be called. They are escaping the confines of their bars to smell the roses, and the daisies, and the violets, and they're bringing them back to work to spruce up their bar patrons' favorite drinks. And if you're fortunate enough to have access to nature's bounty, you too can add some floral notes to your at-home fancy cocktails
Floral essences are volatile and unstable, making them unsuitable for large-scale commercial preparation so you will rarely find a lavender or rose liqueur at your local purveyor of spirits. But that need not stop you from mixing them into your drinks fresh from the plant. Extracting this fragile essence is a do-it-yourself project and a simple one, no matter which of the following methods you choose.
Muddling is a technique to release the fragrance from the flower. You will need a minimum of utensils; just a muddler, or wooden spoon and a shaker, or tall glass. Place the herbs or flowers in the bottom of the shaker and press down on them with the muddler, adding a few twisting motions until you begin to smell the fragrance. Then simply stir in the spirits, and the rest of the ingredients, and if you like, strain the drink into a cocktail glass. But remember the floral notes can be fleeting once they hit the air, so be sure to have all the ingredients right at hand.
The simple syrup technique is, well, simple! Mix equal proportions of sugar and water and heat just until the sugar melts. Remove from the heat and add the flower or herb of your choice. When the mixture has cooled, strain it and add to gin, vodka, or the spirit of your choice. You will find that the flower syrup is as sweet as honey.
Whether you have an abundant flower garden at your disposal or a favorite neighborhood florist, you're sure to enjoy making these fancy flower cocktails as much as your guests enjoy drinking them
If there's a reason that this cocktail sounds like a character from the wildly popular PBS series Downtown Abbey, it may because it appears on a British website, Cocktail Lovers. It's elegant and sophisticated and it requires both muddling and simple syrup.
- Make a rose syrup
- Mix 1/3 oz syrup with 1/3 oz each of pomegranate syrup and vodka.
- Add 1 oz cranberry juice
- Muddle 3 strawberries in a shaker
- Add the liquids and shake vigorously with ice.
Strain the cocktail into a martini glass and serve with a rose.
Serve with a rose!
This appropriately-named cocktail from an equally picturesquely named website, Neighborhood Kitchen may serve to introduce you to rose geranium, a rose-scented herb from which you will make a simple syrup.
- In a shaker or tall glass muddle 5 blackberries with 5 oz rose geranium simple syrup and 0.25 oz lemon juice.
- Fill glass with ice
- Add 1.5 oz gin
- Shake well and strain. Serve with additional ice.
For those who prefer to munch on their flower, there's this Mexican delight appearing on iFoodtv. It does call for muddling, but in this case, it's cantaloupe. (and a lot of it!)
- Muddle 5 cups chopped cantaloupe
- Combine with 2 oz tequila, 1 oz lime juice, 5 oz agave nectar, 3/4 oz orange curacao or triple sec.
- Shake with ice and chile de Arbol power.
- Double strain and pour into a chilled glass.
Garnish with a marigold or a mum. Both are edible.
If you're wondering about the name, it refers to the Ofenda, an edible flower grown in Mexico and used to honor deceased loved ones on the Day of the Dead. If you can find this flower, by all means use it
Frozen Hibiscus Margarita
And last, but not least, the Pretty Girls Cook blog serves up fancy cocktails for dessert.
- Place 2 dried hibiscus flowers in a pan of water with a split vanilla bean and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, cover, and let steep for 20 minutes.
- Strain to remove hibiscus and vanilla bean, add 1/2 cup sugar and return to stove to simmer 5 minutes until sugar dissolves.
- Remove from heat and add zest and juice from 3 limes and juice from 1 orange along with 1/2 cup tequila.
- Pour into an ice cream machine and follow manufacturer's instruction.
After 20 minutes, scoop/pour a refreshingly thick Margarita shake.
Or alternatively, place cocktail in the freezer and serve as a sorbet with a little champagne or tequila on top.
Take a look at Ploumanac'h colored sweaters for more ways to make the most of your summer.