Ultimate Guide to Edible Flowers for Cocktail Garnishes

April 11, 2024 by Anna-Bet Stemmet

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The guide provides comprehensive information about using edible flowers as garnishes in cocktails. Join us as we cover various aspects such as types of edible flowers, how to prepare them, safety considerations, creative cocktail recipes, and tips for garnishing cocktails effectively.  

Understanding culinary flowers

Close up top view of pansies of different colours on a white surface

Edible flowers can add a delightful touch of colour, flavour, and even aroma to your cocktails. But before you start picking every petal in sight, let’s delve into the world of culinary flowers and learn how to use them safely and effectively in your mixed drinks. 

While many flowers are edible, it’s crucial to be certain before adding them to your drinks. Here are some key safety tips: 

  1. Stick to known edible flowers. Only use flowers specifically identified as ‘culinary’ or ‘edible’. 
  2. Grow them yourself. If you’re unsure, grow your own flowers organically and avoid using any pesticides. 
  3. Know your source. Flowers from florists or garden centres may be treated with chemicals, so always check before using them in cocktails. If buying from a specialty store, confirm they’re grown specifically for culinary purposes. 

Get Gifting: Bring the Festive Cheer with Our Edible Gifts for Christmas

Edible flowers list

Edible adventures await, besties! But what flowers can you eat? Let’s explore a variety of delightful blooms that can add a touch of floral flair and surprising flavours to your cocktails. We’ll start with some common favourites, then delve into some more unusual options, and finish strong with a few you should be avoiding.  

Common edible flowers

Close up of narsturtiums growing in a garden, backlit on a fresh morning

  • Pansies. These cheerful blooms come in a variety of colours and have a mild, sweet flavour. It is perhaps one of the most popular edible flowers for garnishing food.  
  • Nasturtiums. Vibrant orange, yellow, or red flowers with a peppery kick, perfect for adding a spicy touch. 
  • Borage. Delicate blue star-shaped flowers with a refreshing cucumber taste. 
  • Violas. Tiny and elegant, violas come in various colours and offer a subtle floral sweetness. It’s no wonder they are such popular edible flowers for drinks.  
  • Roses. Rose petals, especially from fragrant varieties, add a touch of floral perfume and light rose flavour. 
  • Lavender. Aromatic lavender flowers bring a fragrant and slightly herbal note to cocktails. 
  • Carnations. The fringed edges of carnation petals add a whimsical touch, with a slightly peppery flavour. 
  • Honeysuckle. Delicate and sweetly fragrant, honeysuckle flowers are best enjoyed fresh as flower cocktail garnishes  
  • Chamomile. Known for their calming properties, chamomile flowers add a subtle apple-like flavour. 
  • Calendula. Bright orange or yellow blooms offer a peppery taste and a vibrant pop of colour. 

More unusual flower garnishes for cocktails

Close up of chive blossoms

  • Chives. The delicate purple blossoms of flowering chives offer a mild oniony flavour. 
  • Squash blossoms. These large, vibrant flowers have a slightly sweet and nutty flavour. 
  • Dandelion flowers. The bright yellow blooms offer a slightly bitter taste, perfect for balancing sweet cocktails. 
  • Bee balm flowers. Pink, purple, or white with a minty aroma and a hint of lemon in the taste. 
  • Fennel flowers. Tiny yellow clusters with a strong liquorice flavour, ideal for adventurous palates. 
  • Daylily flowers. Delicate orange or yellow blooms with a slightly sweet and melon-like flavour. 
  • Hibiscus flowers. Large, vibrant blooms come in various colors and offer a tart cranberry taste. 
  • Clover flowers. White or pink clover flowers add a touch of sweetness with a hint of honey. 
  • Violet leaves. Heart-shaped green leaves with a subtle floral and grassy flavour. 
  • Nasturtium leaves. Peppery and slightly spicy, nasturtium leaves add a unique twist to cocktails. 

Poisonous flowers to avoid

Close up of backlit foxglove flowers growing wild

  • Azalea  
  • Daffodil 
  • Lily of the Valley 
  • Oleander 
  • Rhododendron 
  • Hyacinth 
  • Dieffenbachia (Dumb Cane) 
  • Wisteria 
  • Angel’s Trumpet 
  • Foxglove 

Remember, safety is paramount. Always be 100% certain what kind of flowers are edible before consuming them. 

Read next: Fabulously Fragrant: What Are Botanicals? 

Preparation and usage

A blue vase of marigold flowers in a sunny, modern kitchen

Now that you’ve discovered the wonderful world of edible flowers, let’s get your hands dirty (but not too dirty!) and explore how to prepare and use them for stunning (and delicious) cocktail garnishes. 

Picking the perfect petals

To ensure the safety and vibrancy of your floral garnishes, remember to source them wisely. Always choose flowers specifically labelled ‘culinary’ or grown organically. Freshness is key for maximum flavour and visual impact, so opt for vibrant blooms just past the morning dew but before the heat affects them. Finally, use sharp scissors for a gentle touch, snipping the flowers with a short stem for easy handling in your cocktails. 

Always clean your garnish thoroughly

After selecting your beautiful blooms, give them a quick rinse in cool water to gently remove any dirt or any little garden friends that may have lingered. Be sure to handle them with care – a clean paper towel is perfect for patting petals dry and removing excess moisture without damaging them.  

How to store edible flowers

For short-term use, your freshly picked blooms will be happy in the refrigerator. Simply store them in a covered container to keep them fresh. If you’re planning on using the flowers beyond a day, consider drying or candying them (we’ll explore those techniques in a moment) to extend their shelf life. You can also make infused syrups with leftover edible flowers to avoid any waste.  

Read next: How to Make Sugared Cranberries for Cocktails the Quick & Easy Way 

Insider tips on top-tier garnishes

 Floral ice cubes filled with pansies

Floral ice cubes add a delightful touch to cocktails. Here is how you make these beauties:  

  1. Wash and dry your chosen flowers. 
  2. Arrange them artistically in ice cube trays. 
  3. Fill with water and freeze completely. (Use filtered or boiled water for clear ice.) 

Pink sugared rose petals on a plate

Or how about some sugared petals? These shimmering petals will add a touch of sweet elegance to your drinks:  

  1. Lightly whisk an egg white (use pasteurised eggs or a substitute) in a bowl. 
  2. Using a pastry brush, coat each petal with a thin layer of egg white. 
  3. Dip the coated petals in a shallow dish of superfine sugar, ensuring complete coverage. 
  4. Gently transfer the sugared petals to a wire rack to dry for several hours, or until firm. 

Go pro: 16 Creative Cocktail Garnish Ideas for Your Next Cocktail Night 

Cocktails with edible flowers to try at home

Close up of a light poink Rose Mojito on a pink surface, garnished with a lime wedge, and surrounded by pink rose petals

Here are a few of our go-to cocktails to make up when the occasion calls for something really pretty. 

Rose Mojito

This twist on the classic mojito incorporates the delicate floral notes of rose petals. To make a Rose Mojito, add 60ml Wray & Nephew Overproof Rum, 30ml lime juice, 30ml rose-flavoured simple syrup, and 12 mint leaves (gently torn) in a tall glass, and stir. Add some ice and 30ml of club soda and stir again. Garnish with lime wedge and fresh rose petals.  

Floral Daiquiri

Every now and again, it’s nice to whip up a total showstopper of a drink, like this Floral Daiquiri. Start by swirling 30ml of crème de violette liqueur in a chilled glass. Next, muddle a few fresh blueberries in the base of a cocktail shaker, then add 60ml Wray & Nephew Overproof Rum, 15ml lime juice, 15ml lavender simple syrup, and15ml elderflower liqueur, along with ice. Shake until frosty, and fine-strain into the liqueur-rinsed glass.  Garnish with? 

Shimmering Sensations: How to Make Cocktails Sparkle 

Hibiscus Tea Cobbler

This cognac-based cocktail has a gorgeous floral edge thanks to the addition of hibiscus tea. It combines 30ml Cognac, 30ml curaçao, 15ml grenadine, and 45ml cooled, steeped hibiscus tea, and a wheel of lemon. To start, muddle the lemon wheel and grenadine in a glass, and then build the rest of the ingredients over it, before filling it to the top with crushed ice, and garnishing it with a hibiscus bloom.  

Make it with: Bisquit & Debouche Cognac 

Elderflower Gin Cocktail

This Elderflower Gin cocktail is one of those amazing drinks that is super simple to compile, but tastes stunning, nonetheless. Add ice cubes to a chilled glass, squeeze over some fresh lemon juice, and pour in 60ml gin and 30ml elderflower liqueur. Charge with 90ml tonic water and garnish with a few mint or lemon balm leaves.  

Make it with: Bulldog Gin 

More flower power: 13 Tasty Elderflower Cocktails You’ll Adore 

So, you see, from pansies to peppery nasturtiums, edible flowers can add a delightful twist to cocktails. We hope we’ve inspired you to explore the world of safe and delicious blooms Don’t be afraid to experiment – Rose Mojitos, Hibiscus Tea Cobblers and your own floral creations await! So, go grab your favourite culinary-grade flowers and get ready to craft some blooming beautiful sips.  

Visit the Grand Marnier, Espolòn, Wild Turkey, and SKYY Vodka websites for even more amazing cocktail recipes to try at home. 

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