After a hard day’s work, a friend wanted a refreshing drink. Tired of trying seasonal fruit-based concoctions or lime-and-sweetener-spiked potions, he requested the bartender to mix something that tastes new, and stuns visually.
The result was a martini topped with rose petals. Soothed by his first drink, he requested something similar, and promptly came another martini, this time exuding jasmine aroma.
The bartender, while keeping all the ingredients same, used the new elixir in cocktails: edible flowers. ‘Flowery’ drinks are the latest fad in bars. Mixologist Nitin Tewari says people no longer drink to get sloshed; they want to open up their taste buds to new experiences. This has made bartenders, the world over, get creative with ingredients and mixes.
“Rose petals, marigold, nasturtium, orchids work beautifully as garnish; hibiscus, lavender and jasmine work for their fragrances. A regular vodka or gin gets a summery spin with the refreshing taste and aroma of flowers. They are a sensory treat appealing to taste buds, nose and eyes alike,” he explains. Tewari further adds that elderflower infusions are becoming as popular as ketchups in bars. His signature drink — phool bagaan fizz — is actually a mogra infused gin concoction.
Edible flowers have always been a strong tradition in garnishing Indian beverages. Chef Tanveer Kwatra says edible flowers in cocktails are an innovative extension to that tradition. He says lavender, elder berry, thyme and rosemary are nice additions to cocktails, though usage of flowers shouldn’t be limited to alcoholic drinks alone. “Fresh rose petals, green pea cocktail, marigold and pansy flowers can be amazing aromatic additions to your summer mocktails,” Kwatra suggests.
Mixologist Noah Barnes says that a whiff of rose or lavender gets people ‘drinking through their nose’. During peak summer, after a long hard day’s work, an aroma-filled drink can soothe your senses like no single malt can. Barnes soaks the flowers in an alcohol of choice for a couple of days to give the drink the distinct taste it needs. “The drink should not only look pretty and be fragrant, it also has to have the essence of the flower,” he suggests.
Barnes also adds that internationally edible flower-topped cocktails are a rage due to ready availability of edible flowers. “Every flower, however, is not edible. We have a limited variety of fresh edible flowers readily available. Dried or stored flowers will not have the same impact,” he explains. He also suggests that vodka and gin are the best alcohol bases for drinks with edible flowers while a strong fragrance such as jasmine works on stronger drinks such as rum or whiskey.
Have you been foodwinked?
A la hoodwinked, food-wise? Still confused? Okay, here it goes… Foodwinked is a fancy-named preparation, by a celebrity chef, that’s nothing more than an exotic nomenclature for desi dishes! Eg: passing off khichdi as Philippines fried rice or serving staid biryani as Arroz con pollo.