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.
- One 18-ounce can lychees in syrup
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon rosewater
- 1/2 cup sparkling water
- 3 rose petals for garnish (optional)
Open can of lychees and drain, reserving syrup. Put fruit aside to use as garnish.
Partially fill cocktail shaker with ice, and then add 1 cup lychee syrup along with lemon juice and rosewater. Shake for 20 seconds.
Pour into three cocktail glasses and top up with sparkling water. Add a lychee to the bottom of each glass and garnish with a rose petal.