We’re nearing the end of May, and for Britain’s horticulturalists, that can mean only one thing: the Chelsea Flower Show has landed.
Established in 1862 (then known as The Royal Horticultural Society Great Spring Show), Chelsea has been showcasing the country’s most impressive buds and dazzling garden designs for 152 years. What better way to toast its sumptuous history and eddying aroma than with a distinctly floral cocktail?
Oscar Angeloni, head barman at Hertfordshire’s oasis in the hills The Mews at Sopwell House, has devised a blooming marvellous cocktail to mark the occasion, drawing on blossomy rose notes atop a classic gin base, playfully served in miniature watering cans.
“We wanted to create a boozy, botanical drink to celebrate our connection with the Chelsea Flower Show, since gold medallist Anne Marie-Powell designed our stunning garden at The Mews,” says Angelino of his delicate creation. “But also to create a summery, floral drink that would be perfect for an evening with friends.”
Mixing gin, a verdant homemade rose syrup, zingy lemon juice and muddled cucumber, the Rose Garden is a perfectly balanced fusion of sweet, sour and potent, its soda bubbles lifting the dry gin to heady notes, and its distinct verbiage lending it a dangerously enticing mouthfeel.
“The rose syrup, of course, adds a floral taste for a summery twist, but the addition of lemon juice and cucumber make this cocktail fresh and incredibly moreish,” agrees Angeloni. “It’s a great alternative to gin and tonic.” We’re not arguing.
The Rose Garden (Serves 2)
80ml Hendricks gin
30ml homemade rose sugar syrup
50ml fresh lemon juice
10 slices of cucumber
Dash of soda
Rose Sugar Syrup
140g caster sugar
5ml rose essence
Miniature watering can (or, realistically, a highball glass) to serve.
Rose petal, to garnish
“Hendrick’s is distilled with a mix of botanicals, before being infused with rose and cucumber, so it achieves a taste unlike any other gin. Another option would be Tanqueray for a more dry, crisp taste. Go for San Pellegrino for the soda water as it has long-lived bubbles and a slightly salty taste. It’s well-balanced with acidity for an overall thirst-quenching feel.”
- Start by making the rose sugar syrup. In a medium saucepan, boil the water and sugar until completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and add the rose essence. Leave the mixture to cool down and put aside until needed.
- Muddle five fresh slices of cucumber in a cocktail shaker with the end of a spoon.
- Add the gin, lemon juice, rose syrup and soda water to the shaker and shake until all the ingredients are combined.
- Fill your glass (or watering can) with crushed ice.
- Using both hands, strain the drink through a Hawthorne strainer (held flush with the opening of the shaker) and a small fine sieve positioned over your glass/watering can.
- Decorate with a rose petal garnish and serve.
From Delicious To Stratospheric
“Feel free to experiment with the quantities of each ingredient to suit your personal preference. For example, a little extra rose syrup will perfectly suit a sweet tooth. Also, you can serve the cocktail in a large punch bowl with a scattering of rose petals across the top for a party.”