During a recent radio interview, I was asked to name some flowers that I liked to eat. I replied with mock indignation that I prefer to look at flowers.
Along with the recent widespread interest in edible flowers by foodies there also seems to be a related trend of putting flowers in drinks to create festive concoctions.*
Some friends recently gave me a jar of wild hibiscus flowers in syrup marketed by the Wild Hibiscus Company of Sydney, Australia. The idea is that one hibiscus bud from the jar is placed in the bottom of an empty champagne flute. When champagne is poured into the glass, the bubbles stream off and the hibiscus bud opens into a flower.
The effect is quite charming and, because I am from Australia and love champagne, it was a perfect hostess gift for me.
The hibiscus flowers in syrup look dark red like rosellas and are not only pretty but tasty. They are reminiscent of a combination of raspberry and rhubarb. A little of the syrup from the jar makes the champagne look delightfully rosy.
Other Drinks With Flowers
Not long after being introduced to hibiscus champagne, I read an interesting article by Laura Holson in the Dining Section of the New York Times (Section D1, August 19, 2009) that had the intriguing title “How to Sip a Flower Garden.” The article noted the multi-sensory effect of not only seeing, but also tasting and smelling, edible flowers in cocktails.
I especially liked the example of a nasturtium in the bottom of a glass that contained an imaginatively mixed drink. Violets, elderflowers, lavender and roses were also mentioned as possibilities with which to make drinks.
Laura M.Holson wrote: “Recently floral concoctions and aromatic blossoms have moved out of the kitchen and behind the bar."
*Always be sure to use organic, pesticide- free flowers.