Serious Eats: Recipes

Zero Proof: Rosewater and Lychee Mocktail

[Photo: Christianne Winthrop]

Rosewater has long been an essential ingredient in Middle Eastern cuisine, frequently paired with pistachios or used to flavor desserts like the classic Turkish Delight. You'll occasionally find rosewater in the international aisle of high-end groceries, but Middle Eastern and Indian markets almost always have it on hand.

Rosewater lends a subtle floral note to beverages. Rose goes particularly well with fruit, which is why we've paired it with lychee in this alcohol-free tipple. The lychee syrup is sweet, the lemon tart, and the rosewater fragrant, making for a drink that's both exotic and strangely familiar.

When you read the recipe and note the small quantity of rosewater, you may be tempted to add more, but be careful. Too much rosewater in your drink and it will taste more like soap than lychee. Feel free to use the lychee-lemon-rosewater combination as a base flavor to build upon—yes, you could add vodka or sake instead of the sparkling water for a boozier beverage, but it's delicious without.

About the author: Christianne Winthrop is a Los Angeles food writer, caterer and culinary instructor. She uses rosewater as a facial toner and loves her skin.

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