So what have our barmen been doing with these fragrant potions lately? They’ve gone beyond a simple dash of a floral liqueur or bitters and are trying out new ways to incorporate floral notes. Midnight Rambler’s Lavender Bramble goes all-in with lavender to punch up its helping of Crème de Mure. Stampede 66’s Uptown Punch went the islander route, using hibiscus to accompany the Absolut Elyx, and new Design District mixology den Quill is using flowers to garnish a few of its signature drinks, like the Snow Healer, made with Pisco, lemon juice, honey syrup and garnished with lavender.
Not into sipping around sunflowers? A little less literal, but still incredibly effective, Pappas Bros. is using a dandelion soda in one of its newest drinks, the Fine & Dandelion, that lends the perfect fizz and unique flavor to an otherwise standard drink. Matt Tagan of Victor Tango’s created the Rebel Yell, which uses a house-made chamomile-infused bourbon. Now that sounds like my cup of tea.
Last May I was asked to revamp the standard Mint Julep for a contest and used rose water to add a bit of complexity to the classic cocktail. Impress friends at your Kentucky Derby watching party next week with a “floral forward" Run for the Roses Mint Julep — just don’t forget the garnish. (By the by, did you know that roses are edible? True story.)
Run for the Roses Mint Julep
12 fresh mint leaves (stemmed)
5 drops rose water
1 part simple syrup
2 parts Maker’s Mark Bourbon
Crushed or shaved ice
Muddle the mint leaves and simple syrup. Add the bourbon and rosewater; stir lightly. Fill a julep cup with shaved or crushed ice, then pour the mixture over the ice. Garnish with a rose petal and mint sprig. Lightly sprinkle powdered sugar over the drink.
I’m all about a floral garnish or two, but, please: Hold the pollen.