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Yes, it's true: even a drink can "say it with flowers." For me, in fact, a drink that hands you the experience of a fresh rose is much more stimulating than the Valentine's Day sales at the corner florist.
Hydrosols, which are fragrant waters steam-distilled from flowers, contribute floral aromatics to your cocktails. Use a light hand: they can be quite powerful if overused, and once too much is added, it can't be undone. You'll be tossing that drink in the sink.
If you haven't considered rosewater or other hydrosols before, this variation on a Gin Fizz is a good stepping off point for experimentation. Hydrosols works well with a bit of effervescence to disburse them throughout a cocktail, and the club soda found in a fizz does just that.
Selection of an appropriate gin is key here, too. You want to create harmony with the floral accents—a New Western style gin like Uncle Val's, with hints of cucumber, lemon verbena, and citrus will pair well with our rosewater. Hendrick's or Botanivore from St. George will work well, too.
What you end up with is a cocktail that rolls between delicate floral sweetness and the sharper tartness of lemon. I'd take this drink over a dozen roses any day.
About the Author: Elana Lepkowski is a Los Angeles based home-schooled mixologist who photographs and shares her cocktail recipes at StirAndStrain.com. You can find her on Instagram and Twitter as @stirandstrain where she sometimes forgets she needs a filter.
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