While autumn is my favourite season, I adore summertime for the bounty it throws my way. One of our favourite things to do in the summer is to sacrifice some of our organic roses and turn them into delicious homemade rose syrup.
My kids love rose syrup, as I did, growing up in Singapore. We drink it, we cook with it and we use it as garnish on our desserts.
Ever wondered about uses for rose petals?
Make some rose syrup! I’ve been making rose syrup for a number of years now, every summer, without fail, born out of necessity one year when we couldn’t find any bottled ones. Which is just as well, because the ingredients on the back of the bottle does make me cringe somewhat!
The only difficult part about making rose syrup is ensuring the quality of your roses; we want unsprayed, preferably organic ones, but certainly ones that haven’t been treated with any chemicals.
Rose Syrup vs Rose Water
Both are made with steeping rose petals in water. However,
- rose syrup is made with added sugar and is, in fact, like a cordial. Rose Syrup is sweet.
- rose water is made without sugar, and is used for its aroma, rather than its taste. Rose water is rather bland tasting.
We have some rose bushes in our back garden, that, like everything else there, are left to grow on their own, with perhaps just the occasional pruning because that’s the kids’ play area.
Red roses are the best for this, for the colour. Technically, any roses will do, red ones give you that pretty pink hue synonymous with rose syrup.
A very simple process, a matter of simmering the roses, steeping them overnight, straining, et voilà! And you know, this is not an exact science, so if your roses aren’t as big as mine, it doesn’t matter, slightly less water, slightly more sugar? No big deal!
If you’ve been following me a while, you know I love using pure essential oils in the kitchen and 2 of my favourites are essential oils of rose and geranium. The former is extremely expensive while the latter is very affordable, so take your pick, but make sure that you are buying PURE essential oils, nothing added.
Essential oil of Geranium smells of roses, so I am quite happy to use it when I’m looking for a rose aroma. So, what I do when making rose syrup, is I add a single drop of the geranium essential oil in, after the syrup has cooled down. Essential oils are very volatile and their fragrance evaporates easily and quickly at high temperatures.
Rose Syrup Uses
So what can you do with rose syrup?
- Treat it like a cordial, dilute with water at a ratio of 1:4
- Add milk to it, and make a drink called “sirap bandung or air bandung” (air is pronounce a-yay), a popular drink in Singapore, especially during Ramadan (picture above). Essentially, you add milk instead of water. If that is too milky, go half and half.
- Use it in cocktails, add it to prosecco for a Rose Syrup Prosecco
- Use it to flavour desserts like Mahalabia and Falooda
Sterilising Jars/Bottles for Storing Rose Syrup
- Turn the oven on to a cool 130˚C/250˚F/Gas Mark ½.
- Wash the jars/bottles and lids in hot soapy water.
- Place the jars/bottles and lids upside down in the oven and leave them to dry, with the door closed for 15 minutes.
- Leave the jars/bottles and lids in there, bring them out only when you are ready to fill. Be careful, as they’ll be hot.
How to Make Rose Syrup without Roses
Super Easy! I call it my Cheat’s Homemade Rose Syrup. Essentially, we make s simple syrup with sugar and water, then flavour it with rose water or pure essential oil of rose or geranium. Then colour it! Ta-da! A rose syrup for making cocktails, mocktails and desserts!
You’ll find our cheat’s rose syrup recipe here, or just click the image above.
If you fancy more alcohol free drink recipes, you’ll find them on the Drinks Page:
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Homemade rose syrup recipe, using fresh, organic red roses.
- 3 large, unsprayed, organic red roses
- 500 ml (2 cups) water
- 600 g (3 cups) white sugar
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 drop PURE essential oil of rose or geranium (totally optional)
- Rinse the rose petals to get rid of dust.
- Place them in a large enough saucepan, add water and sugar and bring to a simmer, stirring once or twice.
- Simmer very gently for 10 minutes, do not let it come to boil as I believe that boiling will encourage all the essential oil to evaporate, you need the the oil for flavour and aroma.
- Turn the heat off, take off the hot hob, add the lemon juice and stir to mix.
- Cool down to room temperature, then refrigerate overnight for the flavour to develop/deepen.
- Next day, strain into a sterilised bottle or jar and can be stored at room temperature for about a month although I prefer to keep mine in the fridge and it has gone for as long as 2 months.
Total time does not include overnight steeping of the cooked rose petals.
- Category: Drinks
- Cuisine: Middle Eastern/Asian