By Amanda Rose Newton
As promised, this week’s mocktail features a remake of a forgotten whiskey-infused classic, the Irish Rose. Not familiar with it? This drink once loved in the roaring 20s as since gone out of fashion but has been making a comeback in the botanical cocktail scene. In fact, the first truly botanical cocktail I ever had was this very drink, at a distinctive Irish Pub in the McPherson Square district of DC.
I’m a sucker for pink drinks, and if you are too, I am sure you will have fun serving this one up all spring long. With Easter and Mother’s Day around the corner, the timing is all too appropriate for this light and lovely drink.
As the name suggests, roses are the star of this flower-powered beverage and the luscious syrup included in the recipe can be used in everything from tea to baked goods. To get the lovely shade of pink this drink is known for, hibiscus petals are added into the mix to lend their spring-forward palette.
To still get the same “oomph” that whiskey brings to this drink without the hangover, the botanical powerhouse that is vanilla and citrus do a surprisingly good job of standing in for the musky, woodsy flavor profile one would expect from booze. Be sure to use REAL vanilla for this recipe, as that makes all the difference here!
Citrus is very much on our minds here at the garden this week, and if you have questions about which to grow, tune in for Seth’s Live Special “Orange You Glad It’s March” citrus special! Here, we will give lemons the spotlight, as they are often the backdrop of so many of our favorite cocktails and mocktails alike.
Lemons to Grow in Brevard
Here are the top 5 lemons that do especially well here and are oh so delicious!
1. Eureka Lemon– If you are looking for a similar flavor and size to a grocery store lemon, this is your pick! Low acid with hints of orange and lime, this is a great choice for both lemonade and cocktails. The zest is also easy to peel!
2. Meyer Lemon– Perhaps the trendiest of all the lemons, and for good reason! Slightly sweeter and with a thin peel, this is a hybrid of a lemon and a mandarin. Given their sweet nature, they are a must for lemon desserts and make a tasty lemon drop martini.
3. Pink Variegated– Yes, this lemon is PINK! It also has few seeds, making it easy to juice for lemonades. Once mature, this one bears fruit year-round.
4. Ponderosa Lemon– If your motto is ‘go big or go home’, get yourself a ponderosa! Large and in charge, this lemon features bumpy skin and low maintenance landscaping. Like the Meyer, it’s also a hybrid and has less of a sour bite making it great for lemon desserts and beverages.
5. Bearss Lemon– A true sour lemon, this is the ideal pick for meringue pies and lemonade that will make your mouth pucker. Due to its high acidity and low seed content, this can make a nice stand-in for Sicilian lemons in the classic liquor limoncello.
Shop the citrus section of our online store to see what we have in stock!
To ensure the health of your tree, start with good quality soil, such as our planting mix with biotone added in for healthy root development. Be sure to water your tree according to our suggested schedule and treat it regularly for the prevention of leaf miner and citrus psyllid (spreader of Citrus Greening Disease). See our blog post on how to grow successful citrus and be sure to tune in to Seth’s talk on the 28th!
Irish Rose Recipe (sans whiskey)
This classic uses lemon juice and good quality vanilla to stand in for the oaky whiskey taste. Serve this in a Collins glass with ice all season long.
1 ounce of freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 ounce of Rose Vanilla Syrup (see below)
3 ounces of Seltzer water
1 drop of red food color, if you want a pinker drink
Hibiscus petals for garnish
Fill a Collins glass with crushed ice.
Add the lemon juice, rose vanilla syrup, and seltzer water
Garnish with a hibiscus petal or two.
Rose Vanilla Syrup
2 cups white sugar
1 ¾ cup rose water (not rose water extract)
2 tsp Madagascar bourbon vanilla or a good quality vanilla extract
Pink coloring for a deeper pink color, if desired (1 to 2 drops red)
2 – 3 dried hibiscus petals (optional)
1. Place the white sugar, 1 ½ cups rose water, and salt in a saucepan
2. Stir to combine and allow the sugar to dissolve over medium heat.
3. When the sugar has dissolved, let the syrup come to a simmer, and simmer for 5 minutes.
4. Add the remaining ¼ cup of rose water to the warm syrup and stir it in.
5. Add the vanilla and stir
6. OPTIONAL- add the hibiscus flower petals and let them steep for no more than a couple of minutes until the syrup gets a light pink color.
7. Let the syrup cool down and store in jars or bottles.
8. Store in a dark, cool place and use as needed.