Al Wadi Al Akhdar has been a leading Lebanese food brand throughout the world since 1979. They combine traditional and exotic touches with the latest food technology to bring high-quality authentic ingredients to the global market. They focus on traditional Lebanese & Middle Eastern specialties, and their flower essences are known to be some of the finest on the market.
Because of it’s use in Persian and Indian foods and pastries, many people think of rose water as exotic and unusual, but that wasn’t always the case! Before vanilla extract became accessible and affordable in the United States, rose water was as ubiquitous in Colonial American baked goods as vanilla is today! In fact, when vanilla extract was first becoming popular with American bakers, it was basically used as a fancy, exotic substitute for rose water!
Rose water is just as simple as it sounds: it’s water distilled with pesticide-free rose petals to extract their essence. The flower petals are gently boiled in purified water, and the heavily-scented steam is captured and condensed, producing a highly fragrant liquid with a subtle floral flavor.
The scent is fresh, bright, and powerfully floral, and the flavor is pleasantly bitter and reinforces the floral notes in ingredients like cinnamon, cardamom, honey, or pistachios. While Rose water is traditionally used to add a subtle fragrance to sweets, pastries, and some savory dishes; it also lends itself perfectly to use in craft cocktails as well. Used sparingly, rose water can give your recipes an elegant otherworldly quality, but be careful not to add too much! A few extra drops can take your recipe from delicate, subtle, and refined, to a big musty ol’ swig from Grandma’s perfume bottle. It’s best to start with a quarter teaspoon or so in your recipes, and then taste before deciding if you’d like to go any further.
Rose water is an incredibly versatile addition to both your pantry and your bar cart. Once you start experimenting with adding it to your favorite recipes, you won’t be able to stop! If you’re still unsure how you could use it yourself at home, please watch the video cocktail recipe below for a little inspiration!
2 oz good rye whiskey
1 oz sweet vermouth
1 tablespoon cherry jam
2 to 3 dashes aromatic bitters
1/4 teaspoon rose water
garnish with 1 or 2 Luxardo maraschino cherries, if desired
Combine the whiskey, vermouth, jam, bitters, and rose water in a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice. Be careful not to add too much rosewater or it can overpower the drink. Shake shake shake the cocktail until the shaker is ice cold and frosty on the outside, a good minute or so. Strain over ice into a rocks glass, and garnish with Luxardo maraschino cherries if desired.