I call this cocktail the Garden Party because it has four — yes, four — distinct florals. Lavender infused vodka, rose water, hibiscus syrup, and elderflower liqueur come together for a lovely, light fizz that fairly screams spring.
What do you do when the calendar (and, God-willing, the weather) heralds the beginning of spring, but no seasonal produce is yet to be had? I eagerly await the return of rhubarb, asparagus, spring onions and peas, but none have appeared in the farmers markets and produce counters I’ve been haunting since March began.
Thankfully, the bright and fragrant flavors of edible flowers are available pretty much year round. Rose water, dried culinary lavender, hibiscus tea, and elderflower liqueur are get-able any old season, though I rarely start craving them in earnest until right about now. I get my rose water and dried lavender online (affiliate links to Amazon where I actually buy these products), but dried hibiscus flower — AKA hibiscus tea — is available in most grocery stores (get it here if you can’t find it).
Almost every liqueur store now carries elderflower liqueur. The most popular brand is St. Germain, which I love, but there are some other great options hitting shelves, too. I used Thatcher’s Organic this time and was really pleased. I always support organic brands where I can, and not for nothing, their version is a LOT cheaper (we go through a lot of booze in this house, so price points are important to me)!
Aside from the four florals that form the backbone of the Garden Party, I added my secret floral weapon: IPA simple syrup. If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that IPA simple finds its way into a ton of my spring and summer drinks, and it tastes nothing like beer in a finished cocktail. It just adds wonderful foam and body, plus a lightly bitter floral flavor that works like many traditional bitters do: bridging disparate flavors and elevating them into something more deeply cohesive. A batch of this liquid gold will live in my fridge from now until the fall, since it’s also super easy to make.
The hibiscus syrup recipe I used is adapted from Natalie Jacob of the Arsenic Lace blog (which you should definitely check out because she’s a rockstar), and is equally easy; it’s honestly just adding sugar to tea (though significantly more than you’d put in your usual cup!). It originally appeared in her Pretty in Pink cocktail which is a must-try if you like scotch.
As a finishing touch for this blushing beauty, I’ve added some optional floral sugar. Just chop some of your dried lavender, hibiscus, and rose petals if you have them, and mix them into a small bowl of pure cane sugar. I mix in a few drops of lemon juice to make the sugar a bit more granulated and dramatic looking, but that’s more for aesthetic value than flavor.
- 2 oz lavender infused vodka
- ½ oz elderflower liqueur
- ½ oz fresh squeezed/strained lemon juice
- ½ oz hibiscus syrup
- ¼ oz IPA syrup
- 3-5 drops rosewater
- 1 egg white
- For the lavender infused vodka, add 2 tbsp dried culinary lavender to 1 cup of vodka. Cover and let sit for three hours, stirring occasionally. Strain through a fine mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth or a nut milk bag and store in the fridge.
- For the hibiscus syrup, add 1 tbsp hibiscus tea (dried hibiscus leaves) to 1 cup of very hot water. Let stand for 5 minutes, then add 1 cup sugar and stir until combined. Let cool and store in the fridge.
- For the IPA syrup, add equal parts (ideally by weight -- use a kitchen scale) IPA beer and sugar in a blender, then blend of high until combined. Store in fridge.
- For the cocktail, add all to a shaker with one ice cube, and shake in an oval-like motion until the ice completely dissolves (when you don't hear it rattling inside any more). Pour without a strainer into a large coupe.
If you’re looking for a floral cocktail with a slightly shorter ingredient list, check out my Spring IPA Sour. It’s great for those of you who don’t like egg white drinks, because the combo of pineapple and IPA syrup produce a beautiful light layer of foam without the eggs.
If you try this Garden Party recipe, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag a photo #gooddrink @colljeffers on Instagram. I love seeing your creations. Cheers, friends!