What a more perfect way to welcome spring blossoms than with blooming cocktails? You can make your own floral infusions, and if you’re familiar with my garden-to-glass mixology (and book), you already know I love making my own. The following are a few great options to sip your way through April (snow) showers and right into May flowers.
Koval Distillery, located in Chicago, makes a line of organic spirits and liqueurs. Their products are lovely, but I have to say that my favorite of them all is the Chrysanthemum & Honey liqueur. It is rich yet delicate and tastes like a kiss of sunshine. It holds up to dark spirits and brings life to light ones.
Grape Vine Flowers
June Liqueur is made in Cognac, France. The base spirit is distilled ugni blanc wine, which is then macerated with merlot, cabernet and ugni blanc flowers. It is sweetened, but not too much. It also has a slightly higher alcohol content than most liqueurs, making it very flexible to use as the base of a cocktail.
Flower flavors can very easily taste artificial, reminiscent of licking soap or spraying perfume into your mouth. So I fell in love with Bitter Truth Violet liqueur, because it does not taste like that but rather imparts the elegant whisper of violets often used in vintage recipes, including the classic Aviation cocktail: gin, lemon juice, maraschino liqueur and a soupcon of violet liqueur.
If you're planning a bridal shower this spring, then rose liqueur and Champagne makes for a lovely celebratory toast. Combier infuses petals picked in the Loire Valley in sugar beet-based spirit and then sweetens it, resulting in a truly romantic Liqueur de Rose. C'est magnifique!
Another grape-based (hence "gluten free") spirit is the base for the lavender vodka from Heritage Distilling. It is slightly sweetened but not quite enough to fall into the liqueur category. So, if you're handy at balancing sweet, tart and bitter, this is a fun base for a flowery cocktail.
Again, from France, the land of flowers and sweet nothings, 1883 Maison Routin's Orchid syrup is a sensual experience for both cocktails and nonalcoholic drinks. Add a little to boozy libations, or simply transform tea, club soda or even food recipes into an exotic delight.
The Liquid Muse Lavender Syrup
Okay, you talked me into it: Here is my recipe for lavender syrup, which I use in everything from lemonade to Lemon Drops.
- ¼ cup dried lavender buds
- 2 cups sugar
- 1¾ cup water
Bring to boil on stovetop. Lower heat and simmer for about 5-10 minutes. Let cool. Strain and bottle. Refrigerate up to about three weeks.