With high visual appeal and various aromatic notes, edible flowers can enhance many drinks’ look, feel, and taste. Whether fresh, dried–or even candied!–using edible flowers for cocktails offers the opportunity to play to any cocktail’s strength and any flower’s profile.
Read on to learn about ten fantastic edible flowers for cocktails that can marry perfectly with different drinks at various events. From the casual solo cocktail drink to the extravagant, bedecked wedding of the century, you will find something to love for any occasion among these edible flowers for cocktails.
Roses balance well with many stronger, more spirited drinks because their flavor profile is milder and sweeter. They also hold enough visual appeal and a vast array of color possibilities to make them perfect for a variety of events.
Roses pair fantastically with cocktails containing a gin, rum, bourbon, or vodka base, as their aroma blends well with–and mellows out–some of the stronger notes of these drinks. By the same token, roses make a great edible addition to champagne cocktails, giving its milder, bubblier base a bit of a boost.
You have your choice of how to use roses in these cocktails. From a debonair hinge on the edge of the glass to a beautiful floral floating in a sea of sparkling champagne bubbles, you can use roses in cocktails however you please. It’s one of the best edible flowers for cocktails out there.
Along with the stunning orchid and vivid pansy, hibiscuses are often considered a cornerstone of edible flowers for cocktails. You can often find them in jars of syrup, already prepared to add a dash of the sweet and floral to your cocktails.
Both syrup-based and dried hibiscus can be used to elevate drinks in flavor and appearance. Their flavor is often described as being floral and tart, similar to pomegranate or cranberry. This makes hibiscus a great addition to both sweet and strong cocktails.
One great way to use hibiscuses as edible flowers in cocktails is from a syrup base, which can be purchased at many stores. You can place a syruped hibiscus in a glass and watch the flower reopen in contact with the alcohol, giving off that lovely cranberry essence and making a picture-perfect addition to the drink itself. Additional syrup can be added to sweeten the drink.
Fresh hibiscus makes a great garnish with many cocktails. Dried hibiscus, meanwhile, can be soaked in strong spirits like rum or bourbon for 30 minutes or more (no less!) to create a mild yet decadent infusion.
Delicate, fruity, and floral, the peony’s flavor profile has been compared to that of a peach or a strawberry. They’re mild and unassertive edible flowers, yet their broad blooms make a grand statement and will look great at events like bridal showers, weddings, brunch, or lunch spread among friends.
It should be noted that only the petals of peonies should be consumed as edible flowers for cocktails. The stem, leaves, and even seeds of peonies are highly irritating and can cause anything from diarrhea and vomiting to a skin rash if consumed.
Peonies do their best in somewhat milder cocktails, such as spritzers or champagne cocktails, where they will not find their mildness overwhelmed by too assertive a flavor profile of alcohol. Be sure to add only the flower heads or garnish with plucked petals, avoiding the greenery of the plant.
Coming in a number of shades, which make them appealing for all sorts of different drinks, pansies hold court with the hibiscus and orchid as being among the top contenders for edible flowers for cocktails. In fact, it’s likely if you’ve ever seen edible cocktails served at a bar or beachy restaurant, you have seen pansies at work in the glass.
The flavor profile of pansies is said to be more on the earthy side, almost like lettuce, but with a hint of a mint under flavor and a wintergreen finish. This unique and stunning flavor profile marries well with quite a number of cocktail bases.
Pansies even plucked straight from the wild, can be eaten entirely as they are. These non-toxic flowers can be added with the full head to cocktails containing either mild or strong alcohol bases. They can elevate and mellow out cocktails, making them a perfect garnish for gin, rum, vodka, or champagne-based cocktails.
You may already be familiar with how consumable sunflowers are; the seeds, petals, and more already find their way into a variety of dietary avenues. And these flowers are now rapidly gaining popularity as edible flowers for cocktails–especially in the summertime!
Because sunflowers have a more assertive, slightly bitter taste, they are best paired with citrus-themed cocktails. Margaritas and wine cocktails are a great bet for pairing off with sunflowers! You can simply add the head to the drink or pluck off the petals and decorate the rim of your cocktail glass.
6. Cherry Blossoms
Cherry blossoms are visually stunning–that much is certain. You are about to find that these flowers are equally gorgeous in a cocktail! Their slightly tart, fruity aroma and flavor are like a mild cherry profile.
Cherry blossoms are already enjoyed in many Japanese drinks and teas as an edible garnish. As they gain popularity worldwide, they are finding their home in many lighter cocktail beverages, such as spritzers and champagne-based cocktails. Both the flowers and leaves can be used as garnishes in cocktails.
Lavender is a mellow flower in appearance, yet it is one of the most assertive edible flowers for cocktails. This tangy, rather savory flower is often used to garnish springtime cocktails and citrus-based drinks, which helps balance out the rosemary-like tang of the lavender.
In addition to its great taste, lavender offers many health benefits. You can add a sprig to the top of a martini or perch it upright in a mason jar cocktail.
Remember that when using lavender as edible flowers for cocktails, you should use culinary lavender only. This type of lavender is grown to have less oil than aromatic lavenders used for soaps and perfumes and is, therefore, more palatable and gentler on the stomach.
Honeysuckles are quite versatile edible flowers for cocktails! They pair well with just about anything, bringing a spate of flavor with jasmine, vanilla, and honey-sweetness notes. Honeysuckle goes with both strong and mild spirits and can be used in daiquiris, margaritas, gin and tonic, and even wine-based spritzers.
In addition, you can often find honeysuckle infusions as a pair of cocktail bases. Honeysuckle-infused vodka is particularly popular, so if you struggle to find honeysuckles for cocktails, try looking for an infusion instead!
Though it’s more often associated with tea, chamomile is increasing rapidly in popularity as an edible garnish for cocktails! These sprigs can be used either fresh or dried.
They have a mild, almost honeyed-apple-like flavor, and the leaves and flowers can be used as cocktail garnishes–though their flavor bases vary slightly.
Chamomile is particularly popular when paired with whiskey and gin cocktails. The chamomile’s mildness and gentle, unassertive sweetness balance perfectly with the more assertive flavors of these alcohols.
Orchids are, by some standards, the most popular edible flowers for cocktails. Often in tropical climates, you will find them a standard decoration for just about any cocktail. They have a mild flavor profile that can pair well with a variety of cocktail bases, though some claim they are best with a citrus pairing.
Orchid heads can be rinsed and placed directly in a cocktail glass or perched on the side of the glass to elevate appearance. You can even mount the orchid stem on a sprig of rosemary for an extra delectable garnish for your cocktail.
Wrapping Up Edible Flowers for Cocktails
Are you excited to try adding some edible flowers for cocktails to your drinks? Many of these flowers can be grown in your own backyard! Check out our Flowers page to learn all about growing and using these flowers at home, in cocktails, and more!
- About the Author
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Renee Dugan is a lifelong writer, professional editor, and lover of all things nature, gardening and the big outdoors.
A Midwest girl who’s been in the garden since she could first hold a hand trowel, Renee’s love of growing things has bloomed into a passion for healthy living, holistic lifestyle, and knowing where our food comes from.
Now a mother and maturing gardener herself, Renee is passionate about channeling everything she knows and continues to learn about gardening into lessons for her son and others. Her excitement for sharing this knowledge is only superseded by her excitement about being able to finally grow her own citrus plants in pots.
Renee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org