The Rugosa rose (Rosa rugosa) also known as salt spray rose or beach rose, grows by the ocean and produces intoxicatingly fragrant pink and white blossoms in early summer. Vodka infused with pink beach roses transforms a humble vodka lemonade into an aromatic jewel. As always, take care when foraging native flora. Make sure not to trespass on private property and to identify the correct species before you harvest or ingest any wild plants. You can substitute with the garden variety but be sure they have not been sprayed with chemical fertilizers or bug repellant.
Willa Van Nostrand is an award-winning mixologist and beverage consultant. She owns Little Bitte Artisanal Cocktails. Visit her at LittleBitte.com.
Rosa Rugosa Lemonade
Willa Van Nostrand, Little Bitte Artisanal Cocktails, LittleBitte.com
2 ounces beach rose–infused vodka*
2 ounces fresh lemonade**
1 lemon wheel
Garnish with rose petals and lemon wheels
Combine infused vodka and fresh lemonade over ice and shake for 10 seconds. Pour over fresh ice. Garnish with rose petals and a lemon wheel. For a full pitcher of Rosa Rugosa lemonade, fill a pitcher with ice and add equal parts infused vodka and lemonade and stir with a long spoon.
* Add 2 cups fresh rose petals to a 1-quart glass Mason jar and pour enough vodka to fully cover the rose petals. Cover jar and infuse for 1 week or until petals lose color. Strain into a clean glass jar and discard petals.
** Combine ½ cup granulated sugar and 2 cups water in a saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Cool and add 1 cup (8 ounces) fresh-squeezed lemon juice. Store in a clean glass bottle. Refrigerate up to 1 week. (Use maple syrup or native honey instead of sugar if you prefer a local sweetener.) Yields 24 ounces or 3 cups lemonade.