Liquid Flowers & Winners

Cocktails!  Who doesn’t love cocktails.  Alcoholic/non-alc, doesn’t matter – there’s something….celebratory..about drinks with stuff in ’em.   One of my bfffe and I had a holiday luncheon at Joe’s Stone Crab (omg.  LUH that place!).  We both took the train in  so we could drink – and we both were fixated on drinking cocktails (as opposed to wine). In conversation about gin v. vodka Gibsons, our server brought me a bit of Hendricks gin to try and it was then that I remembered:  I LOVE FLOWERS in my booze. Flower smells, that is.  The Hendricks  smells like cucumbers and, combined with a bit of St Germain elderflower liqueur and a dash of lime, is the most sublime cocktail I’ve ever had – EVER!  We had 3.  Each.  And it was then I remembered that I descend from a LONG line of high-functioning alcoholics, I live in a place I Do Not Like and omg.  I could see that Box under the Bridge looming large.  So I went about trying to figure out how to replicate the cocktail – at least in idea – sans the Hendricks.  Not quite the same but substituting some muddled cucumber and some sparkling mineral water (and a dash of Rose’s lime juice instead of a real lime) came close.  Doing it with vodka comes close without the ‘sublime’ which means I only want to drink one – not 3/  The Elderflower liqueur is what is so captivating, imo.   It smells so pretty (and, moreover, it’s difficult to parse, which is what makes a lot of things captivating, imo)!  I was thinking of messing up my kitchen, yet again, trying to make the liqueur but hey, guess what?  A) I don’t have an elderflower plant and B) all parts of the Elder plant, save the flowers & berries, are toxic which means I would rather buy St Germaine  or St Elder than risk killing everybody at the garden party.  Plus, I barely have room for the basil and rosemary oils I make.  I either need a bigger kitchen or I can just BUY THE THINGS.   And all the  bottles are just so pretty!!!  I want them all on my drinks cart, just to cute the thing up!


Once I sobered up, I thought about what other floral water-type drinks I enjoy –  I love rose-flavored sparkling water.  Awhile ago I was at some Food Expo and came upon Alchemy Cordials – snagged a bottle of Love, which promptly went into a cupboard where it sat until about a year ago.  Curious, this past Summer I poured a bit into an icy glass of sparkling water, added some mint leaves and a lime wedge and OMG!  The most perfect Summer drink EVAH, with hints of raspberry-tinted rose!   Alas, it’s not available in the US – at least I cannot find it.  NOT EVEN ON (gasp!) AMAZON!  So I’mo have to make this bottle last until I can get to Portia’s.  Have any of you tried any of their cordials?  They have a new one – a turmeric elixir – that I would LOVE to try!alchemy-loveIn summer I love a pitcher of margaritas, made with Triple Sec and muddled lime (and a dash of Roses Lime juice which is pretty much my go-to lime for summer cocktails).  As with most cocktails, I enjoy the smell as much as the actual drink (and, let’s face it, without smell there is little or no taste – which is why I will drink vodka – but I don’t really enjoy it.  Certainly not like I enjoy a good gin.  Which is why I am so in thrall to Hendricks.  And I will gain 250lbs from those martinis.

My beloved Spice House creates their own floral waters, which are great in all sorts of things – I’ve been experimenting with their Orange but, to be honest, I usually just end up wearing them because I think they work best in baking and I prefer their sublime extracts for that.  The orange is great when you want just a bit of flavor to a sparkling water, though – and they are GREAT to just sniff or wear!   I scented a whipped cream icing with a touch of the rose, to great effect; people were all ‘what am I smelling?’ (in a good way)

And let’s not forget the extremely talented Mandy Aftel’s Chef’s Essences.  A few years ago Patty & I were at MiN New York and Mindy Yang introduced us to Mandy’s first offerings.  I’d not had basil in a cocktail and it was delightfully different.  Since then, of course, Mandy has gone on to create a whole raft of flower & spice essences.  Most of them make ‘sense’ to me – then I scrolled down and found this:  chefs-ylangylang-2tI was…stunned.   I have never given a moment’s thought to Ylang Ylang in cooking but apparently both it and Geranium can be used –  the blogger Neroliane suggests using them in salads and desserts (just a little drop’ll do ya) – this is going to be my next purchase for Summer salads – I figure if I don’t love it in food I’ll love it on skin, right?  Stay tuned!  I can’t wait.  For Summer.  When, once again, I can eat a salad without worrying about my insides freezing.  Right now it’s a balmy -7F and I’m sure every lettuce in the world is frozen solid and tomatoes taste like frozen haddock. I wonder what the ylang would taste like, a drop in sparkling water?  Hmmm…okay, it’s on my to-try list!  Even though it’s not a cocktail, I would be tempted to add just a touch of this to the frosting of a Persian Love Cake.  Rose & Ylang Ylang are a lovely combination…. again, this is a Summer cake because I like to use roses from my own garden.  Is it Summer yet?  No? Dang.




Do you have any floral favorites?  Alcoholic or non, I’d love to hear about them.


Ha!  Bet you thought I’d forgotten to list the winners.  Ha!  You’d be right.  But at the last minute I pulled it OUT! so:





Gmail me (evilauntieanitaAT), give me your deeeetails and I will get some goodies out to you!  Please do NOT hit the ‘contact us’ button – that goes directly to Patty and she has enough on her plate.  Thanks!



  • CbSutcliffe says:

    St. Germains is my favorite, but I just bought a rose water essence that I’m experimenting with

  • Lemoncake says:

    I like to infuse gin with lavender and use for gin an tonics. Love Hendricks but when I’m infusing gin I usually get something less expensive and maybe less botanical (e.g Costco’s).

  • ElizabethC says:

    I love violet in cocktails. My favorite is the Aviation – gin, maraschino liqueur, lemon and violet liqueur. Another good cocktail is Arsenic and Old Lace – gin, absinthe, violet liqueur, bitters and orange or lemon peel. ..and, of course, I adore the Chowards violet candies 🙂

  • March says:

    Ooooh! I’m wearing my orange water too! Pffffft, I’m not going to waste that in FOOD. 🙂 In my office there’s a woman who makes a non-alcoholic elderflower punch pretty regularly for office gatherings. It’s delicious.

  • Jenbat says:

    So even further afield in the floral foods foray – a few years ago a chef friend made my chef hubby a birthday cake with bay leaf infused icing. It was wickedly delicious and intriguing, I’ve tried to make my own but haven’t been able to reach the same ‘bay-ness’, and of course chefs never reveal their secrets. It remains only in memery. But it was GUD!

    • HeidiC says:

      I’ve made a rosemary-infused chocolate ice cream — I think if you gently warmed the cream (DON’T COOK IT! JUST BARELY WARM IT!) with a few bay leaves, and just let them sit in the cream while it cools, then remove the leaves and use the cream to make a buttercream icing, you would probably get the bay flavor you want. But don’t use bay oil or crush the leaves into it — bay gives a nice flavor, but the actual oil and leaves are hallucinogenic, even poisonous.

    • Musette says:

      see…..that’s what I mean! Who’dathunkit, right? Bay? But you know…now that I think on it, bay would be lovely in a sugar-based something. Keep trying – you’ll get it down. I’m assuming you steeped the bay leaves in just-at-the-boil water, then used that to create the icing? Inquiring minds….;-)


  • Taxi says:

    Ooh, thanks! I’m going to start enhancing my cocktails now. Basil or oregano oils will probably make may already-super Bloody Marys even better. Royal Gin Fizzes always use Orange Flower water, but ylang? That’a a thought!

  • solanace says:

    I’m a beer gal who loves a good artisanal bottle perfumed with roses, cherries, cocoa or – the absolute best! – fiery habanero. May the Goddess bless small breweries everywhere and the brave creative people who work in them.

    • Musette says:

      I am not a fan of beer drinking – but I LOVE smelling them! The artisans who are creating beers really are going all-out, aren’t they? Gorgeous smells!


  • HeidiC says:

    Hendricks gin is lovely — and then this summer I discovered Uncle Val’s Botanical Gin, which is lovely and herbal and floral and AMAZEBALLS GOOD. I have a teeny bottle of St. Germain that I bought without any idea of what to do with it just because I loved the idea of it, and I am totally going to try and make this cocktail!

    Outside of floral tea, I love a rosewater lassi, and I’ve imagined eating the hens with roses that inflames everyone with desire in Laura Esquivel’s novel Like Water for Chocolate. And I’ve had a vintage French absinthe from 1913 — it was very delicate and floral, not the licorice mouthwash you can buy now.

  • Eldarwen22 says:

    I don’t have any favorite flower scented alcoholic drinks but I do love my booze. Probably my favorite flower scented drink is Tazo Passion. Love the smell of hibiscus in it. You must add a tea spoon of sugar to it otherwise it tastes bitter and don’t add milk. Milk makes it taste gross and ruins the red colored tea.

    • Musette says:

      I LOVE Passion – especially iced. And I’m in agreement re the sugar (or something sweet) – it amps the beauty of the hibiscus and eliminates the bitterness. When we did the LA Scentsation, Paula Vazquez (Beautyhabit) had lunch for us at their fabulous shop. Her husband’s food truck Rock Chef Rolls ( did an AMAZING iced tea with Passion and Ginger! OMG. SOOOO good!


  • GrandmaGaga says:

    So surprised to see myself listed as a giveaway winner! Love ya’lls posts…keep them coming!

  • RoseMacaroon says:

    Oh, floral cocktails. .. so wicked good! My two faves are the Attention, a classic, comprised of gin (I love St. George gins, here I dig their Terror, but suspect the Botanivore could be cosmic), dry vermouth, absinthe, violet liqueur, and I think orange bitters… I just used whatever the stanand recipe calls for. Very complex, super satisfying for those who love it dry.
    Then there’s a really amazing variant of a 2:1 martini, this time I deploy the Botanivore (that’s the 2), dry vermouth and 1 Oz of rose simple syrup plus 2 dashes grapefruit bitters make up the rest of it, and a lemon twist. Sooooo Lovely!

    • Musette says:

      Holy cats & crackers! I…….wow! Gonna have to check out St George gins – and next time I’m at Joe’s I’ll have the ‘tender make up BOTH of those.

      Thank FLOYD for trains, right? 😉