Flowers in cocktails are a thing, petal. But floral doesn’t have to be all Rose Champagne, petal garnishes and sickly sweet syrups; these legendary London bartenders are giving us our flower fix by using ‘em in some of their best creations. Marigold syrups, chamomile infusions and violet petals - whatever your bloom, make it boozy.
Dandelyan Sour by Ryan Cheti at Dandelyan
This is a guy that knows how to use flowers (and just about anything) in cocktails; in fact a whole section on the menu at botanical inspired bar Dandelyan is dedicated to floral cocktails. Best on there is the signature ‘Dandelyan Sour’; if you wanna taste of nature without leaving the bar, this is it.
What’s in it? Beefeater London Garden gin, lemon, lime, dandelion capillaire, garden bitters
More Please by Adam Wyatt Jones at Craft London
Newbie to the south London scene is Craft London, and everything up at this rooftop joint is locally sourced and artisan.
Ex Milk & Honey Bartender and now head of Craft’s gang, Adam Wyatt Jones, talks all things floral: “I believe you should be able to taste every ingredient in a drink or else it has no place being there. With flowers that’s sometimes harder, but I’ve found drying them like in this recipe, or pickling them as we have done with rose petals, we are playing with now can really amplify the natural notes that was the reason you chose them in the first place.’’
Using flowers grown on their land, Craft have a few floral drinks on the menu but ‘More Please’ is the pick of the bunch.
What’s in it? 50ml Gin, 15ml chamomile flower infused apricot liqueur , 15ml London Honey Syrup, 20ml Lemon juice, 20ml egg white
Dry shaken, then wet shaken and single strained into the coupette and garnished with 3 dried camomile flowers on top.
Removed Aviation Cocktail by Rich Woods at Duck & Waffle
Rich does mad things behind the bar, so naturally we went up to London’s sky high 24 hour bar him to see how he makes flowers into boozy goodness. Flowers for breakfast, anyone?
Here's what he has to say on flowers in cocktails: 'we owe a lot of the experimentation into aroma, to the Romans. Just look at a distant relation of the cocktail and perfume. An alcohol solution containing aroma compounds refined centuries ago that would of originally contained raw ingredients including aromatic leaves, sap and petals. We apply the same approach when drinking a cocktail.'
The ‘Removed Aviation Cocktail’ is a twist on a classic Aviation and it’s all about removing the sharp citrus notes and bringing some floral freshness from violet flowers instead.
What’s in it? Gin, violet, removed citrus juices
Eastern G&Tea by Rich Woods at SushiSamba
While you’re there head one floor down, hit the terrace and see how the G&T’s getting a spring makeover. Chamomile is back baby and the ‘Eastern G&Tea’ is the only kind of tea we want to see it in.
What’s in it? Yuzu infused Hendrick’s gin, and the house made chamomile, lemongrass and mandarin tonic.
The Grog King by Calum O’Flynn at The Botanist
Makes sense to toast to Chelsea Flower Show in one of Chelsea’s best bars. The Botanist have a whole menu for the event
‘The majority of spirits and liquors use botany and apothecary to create the flavours so adding flowers, botanicals and herbs to them just enhances the flavours. You have to be careful which ones you use because a delicate flower, like chamomile, the flavour can get lost and something very floral like a rose can be overpowering. It’s all about balance.’
Marigolds your thing? ‘The Grog King’ is what you should be sipping.
What’s in it? 35ml Don Papa, 15ml King’s Ginger, 25ml Marigold Syrup, 2 dashes orange bitters, 25ml fresh lime juice, 1 dash cardamom bitters, 10ml mango syrup
Fir Douglas Rathbone Esq by Jay Smith at Reverend JW Simpson
‘The base of most booze is flowers and plants, it’s where most flavour originates’ says Jay, Head Bartender at J W Simpson ‘by skipping the middleman and putting the flavours back in to cocktails you create a natural freshness that can’t be replicated’.
Plant based fir liqueur, bergamot oils and viola flowers are packed in to this Chelsea Flower Show special ‘Fir Douglas Rathbone’.
What’s in it? 20ml Rathbone New London Dry Gin, 30ml Fir Douglas Liqueur, 15ml Lemon Juice, 10ml Maple syrup. Finish with a spray of Bergamot oils. Garnish with a viola flower.
Wild Elderflower Spritz by Jonathan Wallington
Now this one’s a curveball. The Wild Elderflower Spritz is a pre-batched drink that’s been bottled up and is ready to serve. You can get your hands on a bottle of this elderflower freshness at bars all over the city including Coq D’Argent, Foxlow, The Hoxton Hotel and grab some bottles for your summer BBQ at Wholefoods. Expect hints of pear and floral notes from the orchids, it’s British summer in a bottle.
What’s in it? Perry sparkling water, gin and elderflower.