Mar 25, 2018

Petal Power

flower themed cocktails


March 25th, 2018   |   By Kelly Magyarics, DWS

Bring the garden to your glass with floral cocktails that smell and look as good as they taste. 

Heady aromas? Check. Visual appeal? Check. Delicate flavor? Check. If you want to bring seasonality and a memorable element to cocktails, look no further than out your window. Drinks with floral elements like infused spirits, syrups, edible garnishes and liqueurs are flourishing this spring. Here is the latest crop of beverages in bloom. 

The Gulab (above)

Recipe courtesy of Jorge Islas, Bar Manager and Master Mixologist, Byblos Miami, Miami, Fla.

“A lot of Middle Eastern and Arabic cultures use rose water as part of their cooking techniques and as a way of cleansing. The word ‘gulab’ means ‘rose’ in Indian culture,” Islas notes. “The result of mixing homemade pomegranate syrup, fresh lemon juice, rose water and Ketel One Vodka is a refreshing, sweet and tart cocktail.”

  • ¾ oz pomegranate syrup
  • ¾ oz fresh lemon juice
  • 1 ½ oz Ketel One Vodka
  • Spritz rose water
  • Lemon zest, for garnish
  • 4-6 rose petals, for garnish

Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker except the garnish and the rose water. Add ice and shake until well-chilled. Strain the mixture into a copper Julep glass, fill with crushed ice, garnish with the rose petals and spritz with rose water.


Kelly Magyarics - floral cocktailsStop and Smell the Cocktails

Recipe courtesy of Nick Farrell, Spirits Director, Iron Gate, Washington, D.C.

Farrell’s martini riff originally appeared on Iron Gate’s Tunnel of Love menu around Valentine’s Day, which had drinks for both those who adore – and those who despise – the love-centered holiday. Malfy Gin hails from Italy’s Amalfi Coast region and has a limoncello-like flavor. It’s joined by a bergamot-scented liqueur, white Vermouth, and a spritz of rose water and bergamot on top.

  • 2 oz Malfy Gin
  • ¼ oz Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto Liqueur
  • ¾ oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth
  • Spritz rose/bergamot mist (see note)
  • 3 small rose petals, for garnish

Add first three ingredients to a cocktail glass, add ice and stir until well-chilled. Strain into a coupe glass, spritz with the rose/bergamot mist and garnish with the rose petal.

For the rose/bergamot mist:

Combine 4 parts Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto Liqueur, 1 part pure food-grade bergamot extract and 1 part rose water in a food grade mister or atomizer.


Kelly Magyarics - floral cocktail recipesRicky Rose

Recipe courtesy of Chris Caldwell, Resort Beverage Manager, Sire Bar at La Cantera Resort & Spa, San Antonio, Texas

Caldwell named this drink after the meme “Rosé all day” that describes the popularity of the pink-tinged wine in the warmer months. “I wanted to introduce people to my version of Rosé all day,” he says. “It’s light, floral and easy drinking – perfect for summer sunsets by the pool and with friends.”

  • 1 ½ oz Hendrick’s Gin
  • ¾ oz rose liqueur (Combier or another brand)
  • ¾ oz Dram Apothecary Juniper-Lavender Syrup
  • ¾ oz fresh lemon juice
  • 4 dashes Scrappy’s Lavender Bitters
  • 1 egg white
  • Rose petal, for garnish

Add all ingredients except garnish to a cocktail shaker, and dry shake without ice to emulsify egg white. Add ice and shake again until well-chilled. Strain into a coupe and garnish with a rose petal.


Kelly Magyarics - floral cocktail recipesElectric Butterfly

Recipe courtesy of Trevor Tyler, Beverage Director, Eureka!, San Francisco, Calif.

Tyler was amazed with the tingling and numbing sensation in his mouth after eating a buzz button flower, also called an “electric daisy,” which can serve to stimulate and heighten taste buds. He just knew he had to experiment with it in a drink. This libation also uses tea made from butterfly pea flowers, which gives drinks a shocking pink, purple or blue hue depending on the pH levels of the other included ingredients. The resulting drink’s flavor depends on the palate of the imbiber. He says, “Some people have increased levels of sweetness, some tart and some floral; it really all depends on the individual.”

  • 1 oz lime juice
  • ¾ oz butterfly pea tea
  • ½ oz orgeat
  • ½ oz Chareau Aloe Liqueur
  • 1 oz white Rum
  • ¾ oz Copper & Kings Immature Brandy
  • Buzz button and pansy flower, for garnish
  • Butterfly pea tea ice cube

Add all ingredients except garnish and butterfly pea tea ice cube to a cocktail shaker, add ice and shake until well-chilled. Double-strain into a rocks glass over the butterfly pea tea ice cube, and garnish with the buzz button and pansy flower on a bamboo skewer.

Photo courtesy of Eureka Restaurant Group


Kelly Magyarics - floral cocktail recipesThe Lotus

Recipe courtesy of Scott Jenkins, Director of Beverage/Principal Bartender, Hide, Dallas, Texas

Jenkins’ fondness for Brandy, green tea and the smell of Texas wildflowers in bloom stirred him to create this heady sip. “This cocktail is light, floral and soft on the palate; yet at the same time this libation is vibrant and refreshing,” he muses.

  • 1 ½ oz lychee/green tea-infused Pisco (see note)
  • ½ oz clarified lemon juice
  • ⅓ oz coconut-jasmine rice syrup (see note)
  • 3 drops 20% saline solution
  • Edible flower, for garnish

Add all ingredients except garnish to a mixing glass, add ice and stir until well-chilled. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with an edible flower.

For the lychee/green tea-infused Pisco:

Blend 1 liter Pisco and 400 g lychees (washed, drained and blotted dry) with 2 ml of Pectinex Ultra SP-L and centrifuge for 20 minutes. Strain and fine filter to catch any stray particulates. Steep 20 g of jasmine green tea in this mixture for 15 minutes, then strain out the tea.

For the coconut-jasmine rice syrup:

Steep 500 g coconut water and 200 g jasmine rice for 2 hours. Blend in 500 g sugar until dissolved.


Kelly Magyarics - floral cocktail recipesKatie’s Flower Shop

Recipe courtesy of John Lermayer, Owner and Bartender, Sweet Liberty Drinks & Supply Co., Miami, Fla.

“Katie’s Flower Shop was inspired by a little girl who always wanted to open a flower shop. She’s now a woman who is working toward that dream by selling Tequila,” Lermayer explains. “We honor that dream here with a delicious and floral Tequila cocktail.”

  • ½ oz lemon juice
  • ¼ oz simple syrup
  • ¾ oz St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur
  • 1 ½ oz El Tesoro Reposado Tequila
  • Dash lavender bitters
  • Drop orange blossom water
  • 1 egg white
  • Pastis, for rinsing glass
  • Angostura bitters, for garnish
  • Edible flower, for garnish

Pour a little Pastis into a cocktail glass, swirl to coat the inside of the glass, discard the remainder and set aside. Add all ingredients except bitters and edible flower to a cocktail shaker, add ice and shake until well-chilled. Strain into the prepared glass, top with a decorative Angostura bitters design, and garnish with the edible flower.


Kelly Magyarics - floral cocktail recipesSunday Morning Hues

Recipe courtesy of Lucinda Sterling, Owner and Bartender, Seaborne, New York, N.Y.

“Inspired by the rich and creamy Irish coffee, the Sunday Morning Hues incorporates the taste of various fresh berries from Crème Yvette,” Sterling says. “Fresh mascarpone cheese enriches the velvety Kerrygold Irish Cream with a little tang, [and] a fresh blue or purple orchid complements the beautiful colors of the Crème Yvette.”

  • 1 oz Crème Yvette
  • 1 oz Kerrygold Irish Cream Liqueur
  • 1 oz Caffè Borghetti
  • 1 oz espresso
  • 1 oz mascarpone
  • Orchid, for garnish

Mix all ingredients except mascarpone and garnish with ice in an Irish coffee mug. Top with mascarpone cheese and garnish with an orchid.


Kelly Magyarics - floral cocktail recipesWhite Cosmopolitan

Recipe courtesy of Boulud Sud Miami, Miami, Fla.

The traditional Cosmopolitan gets a floral slant with the addition of St-Germain, a sweet and highly aromatic elderflower liqueur. It’s served over an ice ball that has an orchid flower suspended in it. If you want the drink a little more tart, feel free to omit the simple syrup.

  • 1 ¾ oz Ketel One Vodka
  • 1 oz white cranberry juice
  • ¾ oz lime juice
  • ½ oz St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur
  • ¼ oz simple syrup
  • Orchid ice ball

Add all ingredients except ice ball to a cocktail shaker, add ice and shake until well-chilled. Strain into a cocktail glass over the orchid ice ball.

Photo credit M. Hom


Kelly Magyarics - floral cocktail recipesThe Brass Rail

Recipe courtesy of Bryan Buscher, Beverage Manager, Skull’s Rainbow Room, Nashville, Tenn.

“We wanted a great cocktail in the tiki wheelhouse without all the fuss,” Buscher admits. “Genépy des Alpes has a bit of lavender in it and the Peychaud’s [are] floral bitters.”

  • 1 ½ oz Afrohead Briland 07 Rum
  • ½ oz fresh lime juice
  • ¾ oz passion fruit puree
  • ½ oz Genépy des Alpes
  • 2 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
  • Edible marigolds, for garnish

Add all ingredients except garnish to a cocktail shaker, add ice and shake until well-chilled. Strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with the edible marigolds.


Kelly Magyarics - floral cocktail recipesCurse of Lo Pan

Recipe courtesy of Ray Sakover, Head Bartender, Slowly Shirley, New York, N.Y.

Sakover’s libation is named for the main character in the 1986 film “Big Trouble in Little China.” Jasmine pearl tea lends a delicate floral note, while matcha provides a touch of earthiness.

  • 2 oz Beefeater 24 Gin
  • 1 egg white
  • ¾ oz lemon juice
  • ½ oz jasmine pearl/matcha syrup (see note)
  • ½ oz coco mix (see note)
  • Matcha powder, for garnish
  • Orchid, for garnish

Add first five ingredients to a cocktail shaker and dry shake without ice to emulsify egg white. Add ice and shake until well-chilled. Strain into a coupe glass, and garnish with matcha powder sprinkled in a stripe on the surface of the drink, and an orchid.

For the jasmine pearl/matcha syrup:

Add 4 oz. jasmine pearl tea to 32 oz. room-temperature water and allow to brew for 8 hours, or until desired flavor is reached. Strain out tea leaves, compressing them so most of the water remains. Add 32 oz. white sugar and 2 oz. matcha powder; then combine in blender until well-mixed.

For the coco mix:

Mix 3 parts Coco Lopez and 1 part coconut milk.

Photo credit Nick Vorderman


Kelly Magyarics - floral cocktail recipesTia Mia

Recipe courtesy of Ivy Mix, Bartender, Leyenda, New York, N.Y.

This drink has a lot going on: smoky agave notes from the Mezcal, brown sugar from Rum and a sweet orange note from the Curaçao. But it’s brightened by fresh lime juice and tiki-fied with the addition of orgeat, making it irresistibly drinkable. An orchid garnish delivers aromatics with every sip.

  • 1 oz Mezcal
  • 1 oz amber Rum
  • ¾ oz fresh lime juice
  • ½ oz Curaçao
  • ½ oz orgeat
  • Mint sprig, lime wheel and orchid, for garnish

Add all ingredients except garnishes to a cocktail shaker, add ice and shake until well-chilled. Strain into a chilled rocks glass filled with crushed ice, and garnish with the mint sprig, lime wheel and orchid.


Kelly Magyarics - floral cocktail recipesDynasty

Recipe courtesy of Morgan Zuch, Beverage Director, Datz Restaurant Group, Tampa, Fla.

Zuch wanted to create a drink reminiscent of European royalty. “This cocktail is not only the color of royalty, but also has a rich, lush mouthfeel,” she says. “The subtle use of lavender gives the cocktail more depth and an incredible aroma.” Parfait Amour, a Curaçao-like liqueur, is responsible for the tipple’s vibrant purple tone.

  • 1 ½ oz Empress Gin
  • ½ oz Parfait Amour
  • 4 blackberries
  • ½ oz blueberry kefir
  • ½ oz orange blossom honey
  • 1 oz aloe water
  • 3-4 dashes lavender bitters
  • Fresh lavender sprig, for garnish

In a mixing tin, muddle the blackberries, honey and aloe water. Add the remaining ingredients (except garnish), add ice and shake until well-chilled. Double-strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with the lavender sprig.


Kelly Magyarics - floral cocktail recipesLot 10 Hibiscus Margarita

Recipe courtesy of Topher White, Beverage Director, Stagecoach Inn, Salado, Texas

In this cocktail, hibiscus blossoms are macerated in a bottle of blanco Tequila, along with canela, a Mexican cinnamon that has a more delicate and floral flavor than regular cinnamon sticks. A few drops of soy sauce give it umami and tie all the flavors together.

  • 1 ¾ oz hibiscus-infused Tequila (see note)
  • ½ oz Cointreau or another quality triple sec
  • ¼ oz rich simple syrup (2:1 ratio of sugar to water)
  • ¾ oz fresh lime juice
  • 3 drops white soy sauce or a few grains of kosher salt
  • Kosher salt, for rimming glass
  • Lime wedge, for rimming glass
  • Lime wheel, for garnish

Rub the rim of an Old-Fashioned glass with the lime wedge, then coat with the kosher salt and set aside. Add all the other ingredients except garnish to a cocktail shaker, add ice and shake until well-chilled. Strain into the prepared glass over fresh ice, and garnish with the lime wheel.

For the hibiscus-infused Tequila:

Combine 1 liter 100% agave blanco Tequila with ¼ cup hibiscus blooms and ¼ stick of crushed canela (Mexican cinnamon.) Allow the mixture to macerate at room temperature for 2 days, and then strain out the solids. Store in the refrigerator for up to a month.

Photo credit Cody Graham


Kelly Magyarics - floral cocktail recipesLe Pama

Recipe courtesy of Thierry Carrier, General Manager and Beverage Director, Avenue, Long Branch, N.J.

Carrier created this drink when pomegranate juice was becoming a popular ingredient. Pama Liqueur gives flavor without diluting it too much the way juice would. “The elderflower adds a gentle floral note to the drink, complementing the sweetness in the Pama, [while] the lemon balances the flavor, giving the cocktail a tart finish.”

  • 1 ½ oz Vodka
  • 1 oz Pama Pomegranate Liqueur
  • 1 oz elderflower cordial
  • 2 lemon wedges (1 reserved for garnish)

Add the Vodka, Pama, elderflower cordial and the juice from an expressed and discarded lemon wedge to a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake until well-chilled. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with the reserved lemon wedge.

Kelly Magyarics, DWS, is a wine, spirits and lifestyle writer, and wine educator, in the Washington, D.C. area. She can be reached through her website,, or on Twitter and Instagram @kmagyarics.