Jun 252012


Rose geraniums are so intensely fragrant, you’re tempted to eat them.

And Pelargonium Graveolens is indeed an edible flower. Just now, having soaked up lots of sun, rose geranium blooms and leaves are full of heavenly essential oil. The lightest brush with your finger releases a scent that makes you feeling like you’re standing in a rose garden.

In a region where cooks often scent pastry with rose and orange blossom water, it’s natural that scented geraniums should also have a place. But flavoring with geraniums is viewed as folklore, a cute thing to do with kindergarteners baking cookies (carefully placing one leaf in the middle of each cookie before Teacher slides the tray into the oven). Still, lovers of old-fashioned teas enjoy breaking a few leaves off to make a fragrant brew.  And hoping to revive the custom, I’ve posted a truly exquisite, summery, geranium-flavored sweet cream to serve with fruit.

So let me show you how to make a rose geranium liqueur. It’s a treat to serve with dessert, candy-like but not cloying. It impresses your guests.  And it couldn’t be more simple to make.

Rose Geranium Liqueur

You need a bottle of arak, or failing that, a bottle of vodka, some water and some sugar.

Using Arak:

Pour off about a third of the arak and reserve for some other purpose. Stuff the empty space with rose geranium flowers and leaves.

Keep adding herb, pushing them down with a chopstick or the handle of a wooden spoon, until the bottle is almost full.

Pour a little of the arak back in to cover the flowers.

Cap the bottle and leave it alone in a dark place for 2 weeks. Then strain the liqueur and re-bottle into  out into a clean bottle, capping it tightly.

Using vodka:

Make a simple syrup of 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup sugar, boiled together until the sugar dissolves then cooled.

Remove 1- 1/2 cups of vodka from the bottle and proceed to stuff flowers into it as above.

Top with the syrup and mix well. If there’s empty space, use the reserved vodka to fill it up.

Keep unused syrup, refrigerated, for sweetening later.

Cap tightly and store in a dark place for 2 weeks. Taste for sweetness, adding more syrup if liked. Just remember: the more syrup, the less alcohol content. Also, the flowers have a sweet taste themselves, so don’t over-sweeten by mistake.

The liqueur will keep a long time in dark cabinet, but you may find that after a year or so, it  will acquire a slightly bitter, herbal aftertaste. When that happens, it’s time to make fresh. It won’t hurt you – I actually rather enjoy it that way.

Anyway, serve this floral drink very cold, as it is or mixed with tonic water. Or flavor plain soda with it. Light and relaxing, not only because of the alcohol, which is after all diluted by juice from the herb and simple syrup, but because rose geraniums have anti-depressive, anti-inflammatory medicinal properties. Just so you should know. :)


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  15 Responses to “Rose Geranium Liqueur”

  1. I would love to make that.Where can you find rose geraniums?

  2. I’m the founder/moderator for Punk Domestics (www.punkdomestics.com), a community site for those of use obsessed with, er, interested in DIY food. It’s sort of like Tastespotting, but specific to the niche. I’d love for you to submit this to the site. Good stuff!

  3. You can buy a potted plant in a nursery, but I find them growing in gardens all over the place now. I pick mine in a walkway close to the house.

  4. Sean, I visited Punk Domestics and found it a great read. Thank you. I’m submitting.

  5. I make tea with rose geranium (I thought it was called lemon geranium for some reason). Why do you add the sugar to the vodka and not the arak? or am I missing something? Thanks for posting the recipe, will try it.

  6. Logical question, Sarah, and I should have said something about that before. When using arak, the liqueur tastes sweet enough for most people’s taste. You can always add simple syrup if you like. When using vodka, there really has to be some sweetener to make the liqueur taste good.

  7. aha, thanks!

  8. Just one word of caution. Make sure the flowers and leaves you use have not been sprayed. This plant is used primarily for decoration, not food, so it could be liberally sprayed with insecticides and the like.

  9. Good point, Tal. I pick mine from a clean place,but it’s great to remind readers to take care.

  10. Thanks for all you interesting and wonderful ideas and projects Mimi! I enjoy reading and sometimes making them!

  11. You’re welcome, Shelley! And thanks for letting me know!

  12. Hi Mimi,

    I finally got round to making the liqueur— but there are no longer any blossoms on my rose geraniums—- so I just used the leaves! Hope its ok. Cant wait to see how it comes out!
    I made the hand cream and my family and friends love it! Thanks for all your great ideas— keep up the good work!
    Shelley from Jerusalem.

  13. Shelley, the liqueur should be fine with just the leaves. They’re full of essential oil too. Which hand cream are you referring to?

  14. Hi again Mimi— the hand cream made with olive oil, beeswax and green tea- and Jamine essential oil. I love it!
    Would you, by the way, have a recipe for pomegranate wine or liqueur?
    Or any other wonderful and inspiring things to make like the hand cream and geranium liqueur?

    Thanks again! Yashra cochech!
    Shelley (from Jerusalem).

  15. Shelley, I don’t remember teaching how to make hand lotion, although I do make it. Are you sure you learned it from me? I don’t have a pomegranate recipe at this time, although I’ll keep it in mind when they come back into season.

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