The rain set in early at the weekend despite the forecast saying it would stay dry until late afternoon. I could have predicted the morning downpour though, just by looking at the roses.
Let me explain… The rose plants are full of buds right now, some closed tight, some tentatively opening and a few just popped. It is at this point every year that the rain in this neck of the woods decides to spoil the party.
‘Gentle Hermione’, had one keen bloom that couldn’t wait for the sun to come back and decided that it must flower right then in the torrent. It was so pretty but getting absolutely drenched and these delicate flowers can’t take too much heavy rain before they rot or the petals just give up and drop. That wasn’t happening, not to the first rose and not on my watch.
When the weather gives you lemons, make rose gin.
The first rose each year is significant, special, and even more so when its as gorgeous as this one with an incredible scent that you just want to capture. So I thought about making rose infused gin – it would (should) last a while and I can share it with my friends too. Perfect.
A quick recipe search online comes up with lots of results and it turns out it is so, so easy make. Here’s how:
- Get some gin
- Put some rose petals in it
- Leave it for a bit
- Strain and drink!
OK, that’s oversimplified but it really is that easy. Anyone can make this if you have clean, unsprayed roses with a strong scent. There’s not much point if the scent is weak because you won’t get the rose flavour into your infusion.
Use a gin that doesn’t already have extra flavourings so the rose can shine through. I don’t see why you couldn’t use vodka too and I actually prefer vodka to gin but I already have a big batch of sloe vodka infusing at the moment so I thought I’d try something different.
Sterilize a jar, pick your rose(s) and remove the petals, making sure they’re clean. Put the rose petals in the jar (try to have enough to fill the jar if you can) and pour the gin over them. Put the jar lid on tight and store it somewhere dark for at least 24 hours. Strain through a funnel into a sterilized bottle and you’re done!
Whilst I was making the rose infused gin I kept catching the scent of the basil plant in my kitchen. So I set a tiny bit of the gin aside and made a really small batch of a basil infusion too, just to see how it turns out. I have had a little try and it is basil-y.
I let the rose gin infuse for just over 24 hours in the end but I have seen recipes that say leave it for up to a week, so I guess it’s a case of experimenting. The flavour of mine is subtle but the rose is definitely there and lovely. I mixed my gin with tonic, chopped strawberries and ice and it was truly delicious. Don’t forget a few petals to sprinkle on the top of your fancy floral drink!