Craft drink expert Emily Han creates unique flavors in Wild Drinks and Cocktails (Fair Winds Press, 2015). Han teaches you techniques you need to know to craft your own infused waters, syrups, vinegar drinks, spirits, wines and sodas — each with powerful health benefits and a sentimental nod to drinks of another era. This excerpt introduces you the light and refreshing drink, rose water.
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A staple of middle eastern cuisine, rose water is also the secret ingredient in my sister-in-law Dana’s lemonade. Making your own is easy, and the rose water will last for ages in the fridge. Use the most fragrant roses you can find (any species), and, as always, make sure they’re pesticide-free. (If you use store-bought roses, make sure they’re intended for culinary use.)
Rose Water Recipe
For this recipe, use a lidded saucepan with about a 12-quart capacity and a convex lid (a glass lid is ideal — that way, you’ll be able to see what’s going on inside the pot). You’ll also need two small and sturdy heat-safe bowls, such as ramekins or ceramic or glass cereal bowls: if you have one, a heat-safe glass measuring cup works well for the second bowl.
• 6 cups fresh rose petals
• About 6 cups water
• Large resealable plastic bag filled with ice cubes, plus more ice cubes as needed
1. Gently shake the flowers to remove any dirt or insects.
2. Place a small and sturdy heat-safe bowl upside down in the center of a very large saucepan.
3. Arrange the rose petals around the sides of the bowl.
4. Pour just enough water into the pot to cover the rose petals; the water level should remain below the top of the bowl.
5. Balance another bowl (right side up) on top of the first bowl; this is what will catch your rose water.
6. Cover the pot with the lid flipped upside down.
7. Bring the water to a simmer over medium heat. Once it starts to simmer, put the bag of ice on the inverted lid.
8. Adjust the heat if necessary to maintain a gentle simmer.
9. When the ice cubes melt, pour out the water and add new ice cubes to the bag.
10. As the steam rises inside the pot, it will condense on the underside of the cold lid and drip into the open bowl.
11. Peek inside the pot occasionally; when you have about 1 cup of rose water in the bowl (approximately 11/2 hours), turn off the heat. Let cool.
12. Uncover the pot and carefully lift out the bowl of rose water.
13. Using a funnel, transfer the rose water to a sterilized bottle. Store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.
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Reprinted with permission from Wild Drinks and Cocktails, by Emily Han and published by Fair Winds Press, 2015. Buy this book from our store: Wild Drinks and Cocktails.