Spotlight: Rose Water
A splash of rose water is worth a thousand blossoms. Actually, it’s closer to 600 rose blossoms per liter, but we would still never waste a drop! Rose water’s sweet, woodsy aroma has been prized for centuries for its use in candies, cakes, cocktails, and even cosmetics.
What Is Rose Water?
Rose water is made from two simple ingredients—roses and water.
There are more than 10,000 rose varieties in cultivation, but only a few are grown for their fragrance. The Damask rose, rosa damascena, is the main cultivar used in rose water production.
The rose blossoms are picked before sunrise, when their fragrance is strongest. The blossoms undergo a steam distillation process that releases their flavor and aroma into water vapor. The rose-infused steam is cooled, condensed, and captured to create rose oil and rose water. The rose oil is skimmed off the top like cream and sold separately from the rose water, which makes up the majority of the liquid. Good quality rose water should smell sweet and floral, like a fresh rose blossom. The product should be pure, and made solely from roses and water.
We work with a distiller in the United Kingdom that sources these special roses from Morocco, Bulgaria, and Turkey. The exact source depends on seasonal quality. We are currently offering rose water distilled from Moroccan-grown Damask roses.
How to Cook With Rose Water
One of the simplest and time-honored ways to use rose water is in a soothing cup of tea. Simply add a half teaspoon to a cup of black tea, served hot or cold. We also love adding a splash of it to a pitcher of sweet iced tea or rose water lemonade. Don’t forget about cocktails either. Try a few drops of rose water in a gin martini to complement the other botanical flavors of the spirit.
Rose water’s sweet flavor naturally lends itself well to dessert recipes. This is especially true in South Asian sweets like kheer rice pudding or gulab jamun. Rose water is an excellent flavoring for cakes, cookies, frostings, puddings, and fruit pie fillings—especially cherry pie. You can try swapping rose water for vanilla extract to add a newfound twist to your favorite baking recipes.
While the flavor profile of rose water is sweet and mild, it can easily overpower a dish. We recommend using a light touch when you are first experimenting with it in your recipes.
Savory recipes also benefit from a little rose water, like braised lamb or roasted chicken. Try adding a light splash of rose water to harissa paste along with some fresh lemon juice to create a quick marinade for grilled chicken.
Rose water pairs well with other spices and herbs such as allspice, basil, lemongrass, lavender, cardamom, caraway, chile peppers, citrus juice and zest, clove, cocoa, coriander, cumin, ginger, grains of paradise, mint, nutmeg, black pepper, saffron, and vanilla.
Top Recipes For Rose Water
Rose Water Lemonade
Chai Kheer Indian Rice Pudding
Moroccan Carrot Salad
Figs and Rose Water Yogurt
Courting Cupid Cocktail
Article by Geoff Marshall, Staff Writer