As a child, my grandmother made this syrup with fresh roses from her garden, when roses actually smelled of roses. She simmered the freshly washed petals with the sugar syrup. The roses infused the syrup with their soft scent and tinted the syrup a bright ruby red.
A favorite treat she made in the summer was homemade popsicles. She crushed the ice and molded it into balls on a stick and poured the sticky ruby red liquid all over it. It was such fun, sitting in her garden amongst her flower pots, indulging on what was once growing on the shrub next to us.
Well with summer around the corner, it’s time to bust out the ideal recipe for a cool refreshing drink. My take on the perfect drink is a homemade rose syrup that’s been infused with cardamom pods, complimented with a hint of licorice flavor, from the fennel seeds and a bit of a zing from the ginger. I seldom use organic red roses to add to the syrup as they cost ‘an arm and a leg’ but if you have access to them, a handful of red petals should do. In my recipe I’ve used a good quality rose essence to infuse this syrup instead.
You can whip up the syrup in a jiffy and store it in a jar for most of the summer. Just pour a big splash of the syrup in a glass and add ‘a little bit of this and a bit of that’ and you have yourself a refreshing summer cocktail.
I personally add about a 1/8 of a cup of rose syrup to a glass of crushed ice, top it with cold water and stir in a dollop of previously soaked chia seeds*. The jelly-like seeds, against the coolness of the drink are a match made in heaven.
So here goes… the recipe for homemade rose syrup. This is the recipe you wish you always had.
Ingredients for the Rose Syrup
1 cup organic cane sugar
½ cup water
10 green cardamom pods
¼ tsp. fennel seed powder
¼ tsp. ground ginger
¾ tsp. rose water essence
Place the sugar into a small pan.
Dissolve the sugar on medium heat.
Bring to a boil and let simmer for about a minute.
Remove from the stove.
Lightly crush the cardamom pods with your thumb and forefinger, allowing some of the seeds to spill into the syrup.
Toss in the cardamom pods too, its okay if there are some seeds remaining in the pods.
Add the ground ginger and the fennel seed powder and stir the syrup.
Lastly swirl in the rose water essence and close the lid of the pan.
Allow the syrup to steep for at least 2 hours.
Strain the rose syrup before using.
Rose water essence is found at any good natural food store.
I sometimes use this syrup to soak sponge cake and serve it with whipped cream and fresh berries.
Another idea would be to use the rose syrup as a sweetener for freshly made lemonade.
*Soak 1 tbsp of chia seeds in a cup of warm water and wait for about 15 mins for them to get puffy and jelly like.