Several years ago, a visit to the Old Lyman Estate Greenhouses in Waltham, Massachusetts sparked a love of scented geraniums or Pelargoniums. (See Scents and Sensibility: The Scented Geranium is Spring’s Must-Have Plant.) Not only do these versatile plants smell great, they’re also fun to cook with, adding more subtle, herbal flavors to many recipes.
Now that my lemon tea cake with rose geranium leaves is a family favorite, I decided to play with this same winning combo in a liquid form: a summer cocktail I’m calling a Honeysuckle Rose. For the honeysuckle flavor I opted for Barr Hill Gin, which is distilled with just a hint of honey. This spirit, along with rose geranium simple syrup and lemon, make a drink that encompasses both the taste and aroma of summer.
Read on for the recipe.
Photography by Justine Hand.
Above: The ingredients from my cocktail combine my favorite scents of summer: rose, honeysuckle, and lemon.
Above: A must-have for many summer cocktails, simple syrup is an easy way to experiment with different, subtle flavors that won’t overwhelm. Pictured here: rose geranium is a new favorite. Another is rosemary with lemon rind. Stored in the fridge, simple syrup will last a month.
Above: The sugared rim helps to cut the sour lemon and adds even more of the taste and aroma rose geranium. It also looks very sophisticated.
Above: A refreshing cocktail, perfect for a summer evening.
The Honeysuckle Rose (makes 2 cocktails):
Ingredients for rose geranium simple syrup:
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 rose geranium leaf
Recipe for rose geranium simple syrup:
Combine sugar, water, and geranium leaf in a pan. Heat over medium, stirring constantly until the sugar is fully dissolved. Let cool. Remove wilted geranium leaf and add a fresh one that will infuse more flavor over time.
Ingredients for cocktail:
- Juice of one lemon
- 2 ounces Barr Hill Gin
- 1 ounce rose geranium simple syrup
- Several rose geranium leaves
- 1/8 cup raw or simple granular sugar
Recipe for The Honeysuckle Rose:
For sugared rim: mince one rose geranium leaf and combine with sugar. Wet rim of a small cocktail glass with a lemon wedge. Dip into sugar to coat rim.
In a cocktail shaker muddle together lemon juice and one rose geranium leaf. Add generous amount of ice cubes, gin, and simple syrup. Shake. Pour into sugar-rimmed cocktail glasses. Note: if the drink is too strong for your taste, add a splash of club soda.
Finally, get more ideas on how to successfully plant, grow, and care for rose with our Rose: A Field Guide.
Finally, get more ideas on how to plant, grow, and care for various perennial plants with our Perennials: A Field Guide.
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