It’s almost the end of edible flower season, but considering they’re one of the best ways to knock a cocktail recipe into fancy as fuck territory, I’ve decided to highlight my 6 favorite flowers to use in cocktails. Before we dive in, I must present my standard edible flower warning, only eat flowers you can both 100% identify and are 100% sure are free of toxic chemicals. Consult with a professional if you are ever unsure.
Rose has a really elegant flavor that can add some fucking class to a cocktail, although using too much (especially in concentrated forms like rose water) can result in a drink that tastes closer to perfume than a delicious boozy treat. I like to add a few drops of rose water to a French 75 and really feel like a fancy man.
Candied Rose Petals provide a sexy and romantic garnish to any cocktail. For an unusually awesome flavor combo, sprinkle a few candied petals on a chocolate martini.
I fucking love violets. Wood violets grow wild all over my hometown of Milwaukee. I can make candied violets, violet syrup, violet infusions, pretty much anything I want.
Violets have a sweet, very delicate flavor. They are fantastic fresh or candied, but have a gentle flavor, so if you plan on making a mega flavorful syrup or infusion, be prepared to pick a lot of violets. I usually end up buying violet water for flavoring, and using the fresh flowers for garnishes or gentle gin infusions.
Delicious Candied Violet Petals are also available online.
I was all excited to present an awesome violet cocktail I’d been working on, but this summer has been so fucking hot that wild violet season only lasted like 2 weeks. Stay tuned for that cocktail next Spring!
I’ll admit, this one made the list almost solely because of its brilliant blue color and striking good looks. It’s pretty hard to find a true shade of blue to add to cocktails using only natural ingredients.
Borage flowers have a gentle earthy cucumber flavor to them that pairs really well with a cucumber flavored cocktail. No one is immune to the undeniable fanciness of a cucumber collins garnished with one of these beauties.
Borage also pairs really well with mint, so consider adding it to your mojito or julep recipes.
I am in love with the surprisingly awesome taste of fresh hibiscus. It kind of tastes like a lemon had a baby with a strawberry, and then that baby grew up and had a baby with a cranberry. From that accurate and not at all confusing description of it’s flavor, you can imagine it tastes good in almost any cocktail with citrus juice or fruit.
I typically use Hibiscus petals to make a vibrant crimson syrup. The flowers pack a lot of flavor and color, so I only needed a handful of blooms to make a cup of hibiscus awesome sauce. You can buy dried hibiscus online, and it tastes just as good but with a much richer flavor than the fresh version.
You can find hibiscus syrup used in the awesome-for-summer Hibiscus Mojito.
Calendula is the only savory edible flower I typically use in cocktails. I’m definitely thinking of ways to infuse the bitter or peppery savory flowers into gin or vodka, but as far as easy to add ingredients, Calendula can spice up a cocktail in an unusual way.
So far I’ve only used the flower as an edible garnish, but my practice infusions have turned a really pretty saffron color that I can’t wait to experiment with.
Calendula has a peppery spice flavor that I like to use to add some zip to a Bloody Mary. The bright orange or yellow flower gives a pop of color to cocktails.
If you’re feeling adventurous, try pairing the Calendula with a Manhattan or Negroni. The vermouth in the Manhattan compliments the spice notes of the flower and the bitterness of the Negroni clashes giving a unique flavor experience.
Johnny Jump Up
I didn’t just choose this flower because it sounds like it was named after a particularly energetic male go-go dancer, although that is a big part of it. Technically a member of the viola/pansy family, these edible flowers pop with two toned colors and a sweet, gentle, wintergreen flavor.
The flavor of these buds are so gentle, they aren’t very good to use for flavoring, although if you gather enough of them you can make a fantastic syrup with them,
These look fine candied and used as a garnish, but I really like to freeze them in ice cubes. As the cubes melt the gentle flavors of the flowers infuse your entire cocktail, perfect for a hot summer day. I also muddled the flowers into a gimlet and then garnished with a whole flower for a colorful fanciful take on the classic lime cocktail.
Like what you learned today? Tell your friends. Did I miss something? Let me know in the comments or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org