A cocktail infused with honest-to-god rose petals has to be the most romantic possible thing to serve your partner on the big day, amirite? Gimmicks aside, roses are a truly wonderful addition to gin based cocktails, and there's no better time of year to go all out on florals.
There are a few ways to get rose petals into your cocktail, but my go-to method also happens to be the easiest: use rose water, a widely available ingredient made from the steam distillation of rose petals. In short, you need a whoooooole bunch of rose petals to infuse fresh rose flavor into a liquid, and they also have to be organic, and food grade, and the heavily scented heirloom variety. These are not easy (or cheap) to find in large amounts. That's why I always keep rose water on hand -- it's cheap, shelf stable, work-free, and packed with a very concentrated floral aroma (sometimes a few drops alone will do the trick). Honestly? Miracle ingredient.
Though it's often associated with sweets -- macarons, madeleines, rice pudding, lassi, Turkish Delight -- the rose water itself isn't sweet. Tasted alone, it's basically a non-astringent perfume. [Hot tip -- add some to a hot bath and enjoy a warm rose-scented moment in heaven.] And though rose flavored foods are typically associated with global cuisine, rose water itself is actually pretty darn easy to find in the US. Whole Foods and any gourmet shop are very likely to have it, as are any Middle Eastern market and a surprisingly high number of regular old supermarkets. And if all else fails, there's always Amazon. One bottle will last you a very long time -- mine has been sitting in my pantry for months.
Now, onto the cocktail itself. Because I associate rose water with lassi and rice puddings, I wanted to mix something creamy while keeping things light and frothy -- fans of the Ramos Gin Fizz will approve. Both decadent and fresh, this one is a really complex sip. Honey and cucumber add to the garden profile, and fresh citrus brings brightness to the table.
Finally, you should most definitely garnish this with rose petals -- what else? You can go fresh if you can find food grade roses, but I actually love the pop of scent and color of dried rose petals as well. You can snag them from a full leaf rose tea if you can't find them elsewhere.