Garden to Glass: Creating Drinks with Edible Flowers

Reader Contribution by Sheryl Campbell and The Lazy Farmer
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Lavender. Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Edible flowers are delectable in the spring, summer, and fall! Did you know that they can grace your table during the winter as well? Not always on a plate, either. They are delightfully delicious added to a glass. Read on for ways to imbibe edible flowers throughout the dormant season of the garden.

Hopefully you dried or otherwise preserved a variety of edible flowers from your garden this past growing season. No need to panic if you didn’t. Dried edible flowers are available from numerous vendors online and through many local vendors no matter where you live.

Some Basic Ingredients

You’ll want to have some basic floral ingredients on hand for the recipes in the post. Then you’ll find yourself composing your own specialty drinks using many of these same flowers.

Dried flowers

  • Lavender buds
  • Rosemary flowers
  • Mint flowers
  • Hibiscus calyxes
  • Elderflowers

Whole flowers preserved in ice cubes

  • Borage
  • Nasturtium
  • Violets
  • Orange blossom
  • Rose of Sharon
  • Tuberous begonia
  • Plum blossom

 

Floral ice cubes. Photo by cottonbro on Pexels

Simple Syrup Recipe

  • 1 cup granulated cane sugar
  • 1 cup water
    Any one of the following dried flowers:
  • 1 Tablespoon rosemary flowers
  • 1 Tablespoon chocolate mint flowers
  • 1 Tablespoon lavender buds
    2 hibiscus calyxes
  • 1 Tablespoon elderflowers

Directions for simple syrup

Heat and stir until sugar dissolves; boil 1 minute without stirring
Add flowers; let cool; pour into clean glass container
Store in refrigerator for up to 2 months

Are you ready to mix your drinks? Here are some of our favorite winter quenchables and comforting mugs! Give them a try and let me know how you like them. Then create your own liquid concoctions and share them with me.

Holiday Punch

Remember those borage flowers you froze in ice cubes?  And the lovely rosemary buds you dried? Now is the time to pull them out and add delicious herbal notes to your holiday punch bowl! The flavor complexity of citrus fruits and herbs will keep you filling your glass.

 

Holiday drinks with flowers. Photo by Brook Lark on Unsplash

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Owen’s Grapefruit and Lime Cocktail Mixer
  • 2 cups fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 cup natural pineapple juice
  • 8 ounces gin with rosemary herbal notes (such as Dartmouth English, or Forest)
  • Generous splash of Campari
  • 2 ounces rosemary simple syrup (or to taste)

Directions:

Gently stir all ingredients in a small punch bowl. You can double the recipe and use a larger bowl. Add ice cubes with borage and rosemary flowers frozen into them. Top with thin slices of orange to garnish.

Lavender Cocoa Recipe

Let a steaming mug of hot lavender cocoa ease away your stress and sooth your anxieties from a crazy year. While raw milk isn’t essential it will make a creamier and healthy drink.

Ingredients:

  • 1 quart raw milk
  • 1 tsp. dried lavender buds (put in a sachet or cheesecloth bag)
  • ¼ cup powdered cocoa
  • ½ cup cane sugar
  • ¼ tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

Mix the sugar and cocoa powder together. Put everything in a crockpot, stirring until the sugar/cocoa mixture is starting to dissolve. Turn the crockpot on high and the hot cocoa should be ready to drink in about an hour. To have this winter treat ready for a crowd after caroling I just triple or quadruple it, then cook it on medium setting in the crockpot for about 3 hours. Remove the bag of lavender buds before serving. Top with homemade whipped cream.

 

Photo by Jill Wellington on Pexels

Mint Memories Cocoa

Follow the recipe above, only substitute 1 tablespoon of dried chocolate mint leaves (or spearmint leaves) for the lavender buds. Once the cocoa is hot and ready to drink, add a light splash of peppermint schnapps. Top the whipped cream with a fresh mint leaf.

Hibiscus Champagne Cocktail

Red Roselle, or tea hibiscus is the variety most often used for cooking. The refreshing citrus and cranberry flavors are a great pick-me-up for a winter brunch. Use the calyx of the hibiscus which is the first part of the flower that develops and is attached directly to the stem of the plant. It is red, fleshy, and encases the bloom.

Ingredients:

  • 5 ounces chilled dry champagne, Spanish cava, or Italian prosecco
  • ¼ ounce (1 ½ tsp.) hibiscus simple syrup
  • Lemon twist and sprig of mint for garnish

Directions:

Put the hibiscus simple syrup in the bottom of a champagne flute. Gently pour the sparkling wine into the middle of the glass to avoid bubbling. Garnish with a lemon twist and a sprig of fresh mint.

Strawberries with floral ice cubes – photo by cottonbro on Pexels

Summer Memories

If you remembered to freeze some whole strawberries last summer, just take a few of them out and defrost them gently on the counter earlier in the day before making this celebratory drink that is redolent of summer. Any strawberries you find in the produce section of the grocery store this time of year will be tasteless.

Ingredients:

  • 4 frozen strawberries, thawed
  • 1 Tablespoon elderflower simple syrup
  • 5 ounces cava or prosecco

Directions:

Muddle the strawberries in a mixing glass with the elderflower simple syrup. Strain into a champagne flute. Gently pour the sparkling wine into the middle of the glass to avoid bubbling. 

Summer Meets Winter

Winter is the time of cranberries, in baking, in sauce, in chutney, and now in drinks. Pair it with the lemony taste of hibiscus for an outstanding winter cocktail.

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces vodka
  • ½ ounce Cointreau
  • 2 ounces cranberry juice (no sugar added)
  • ½ ounce hibiscus simple syrup

Directions:

Pour everything into a cocktail shaker full of ice and shake vigorously. Strain over ice into a tall glass. Garnish with a twist of lemon.

What about Those Floral Ice Cubes

Now that you’ve mastered some mixology, what should you do with all those floral ice cubes we talked about at the beginning of the post? The sweeter and citrusy ones are wonderful in punches or any fruit juice based drink. Just think about the type of juice you are using and use a complimentary flavor. Orange blossom, Rose of Sharon, and tuberous begonias all have a citrus taste. Plum blossoms, red clover, and violets are sweet.

Borage has a cucumber flavor and is good in many fruity and more savory drinks since it is mild. Nasturtiums are quite peppery and best reserved for your next Bloody Mary.

Garden to Glass

If you didn’t grow your own edible flowers this year, plan them into your garden this spring and summer. Dry them and preserve them in ice for next winter’s drinks. Meanwhile, buy them from a local supplier and start experimenting. Let me know what luscious libations you create!


Sheryl Campbell is an heirloom gardener, shepherd, and edible flower educator who owns Bouquet Banquet in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. Read Sheryl’s previous blogging with Mother Earth GardenerandGrit and read all of her MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.


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