Do not be surprised to find out that chefs and bartenders have started to include flowers in their dishes and beverages. They are a simple way to make beverages look prettier, and they add a pop of flavour and colour to dishes. Adding flowers to beverages is not a new trend; people are adding them to dishes and beverages for more than 30 years. But not all bartenders can use them, they need to have flowers in their blood, they need imagination, creativity, and they need knowledge, because not all of them are edible, some of them are poisonous. It is the moment, people worldwide to understand that flowers have value beyond what you can smell and see. Both plants and flowers have medicinal powers, and people should include them more in their dishes.

Edible flowers can be used for cocktails

Bartenders use edible flowers as a garnish for multiple drinks. If you want to get the best flowers, it is advisable to purchase them from a local supplier. Some bartenders decided to replace the cranberry juice with homemade hibiscus juice. They prefer this option, because it is healthier than the cranberry juice, the last one contains a high quantity of syrup.

Other bartenders use petals of jasmine and rose to create twists on their cocktails. Because the elderflower liquors contain a small quantity of elderflower, they also prefer making it from fresh flowers. Nick Haque recommends checking if the flowers are edible, because many people do not know what blooms they should use. It is important to pay attention to their characteristics, because many of them can trigger allergies and complex health issues.

A short list of edible flowers

The majority of bartenders and chefs have a stash of dried hibiscus and fresh nasturtium in their kitchen, because these ingredients give a substantive flavour to the dishes they prepare. They recommend adding to your beverages flowers like: sunflowers, orchids, chrysanthemums, pansies, herb flowers, lilacs, tulips, roses, dandelions, calendulas and elderflowers.

  • Pansies have a light and grassy flavour, with a minty note in their stem. When using them for cocktails, they tend to remain on the bottom of the glass, but they are used because they offer a fresh flavour to the drink.
  • Baby’s-breath is another flower used to offer drinks a light and sweet grass fragrance. Bartenders associate this flower with gins and birch eau de vie.
  • Lavender has an intense aroma and it is an ingredient both chefs and bartenders play with. It can be used in both fresh and dried state.

The challenge when using flowers in drinks is to find a way to preserve their delicate nature. Alcohol is not a friend to flowers, therefore only a skilled bartender can capture the true sense of a flower. Different methods have to be used for different flowers, because a little mistake can destroy them.

When it comes to beverages and dishes, flowers are here to stay. Restaurants worldwide have just started to see the possibilities they have if they are using local native flowers at the bar and in the kitchen.