A pink twist on classic cocktails


"If it seems like you can add rose to nearly any cocktail, the answer is that you can!" says Colleen Graham, who was inspired by the versatility of rose wines for her latest cocktail manual.

In fact, no recipe seems to be off limits and you don't need to splash out on an expensive bottle of Whispering Angel to dress your drinks in pink.

While Graham suggests using premium-quality spirits you wouldn't mind drinking on their own, she says: "There's no need to pay for a super pricey bottle of rose, though, as wine is typically a cocktail mixer that allows you to save a bit of money.

"Rose is one of the best wines for mixed drinks, with its flavour of strawberries or watermelon. It works perfectly with many spirits (whiskey, gin, vodka, tequila, rum) and almost any additional flavours, from fruits to herbs and spices," Graham promises.

Like the sound of giving a classic cocktail a pink twist? Here are four recipes to try...



Rose Mojito

Mojitos are a ton of fun to drink and not as hard to make as you might think. The secret is to use a muddler to press the fresh mint into the syrup. This flavour foundation can then be dressed up in the original way (rum and soda water) or it can take a more unconventional turn, as with the Rose Mojito.

'Refreshing' doesn't even begin to describe the taste; you'll love how the cooling, sweetened mint plays off a nice rose. It's then given an extra twist by using a sparkling lemonade rather than soda water. If you prefer it less sweet, add a lemon-flavoured Italian soda water instead.


Ingredients: (Serves 6-8) 750ml rose, 480ml sparkling lemonade, 2 limes cut into wedges, 25g fresh mint leaves, simple syrup to taste, lime slices and extra mint leaves to garnish.

Method: Using a muddler, press the lime wedges, mint leaves and about 15ml of simple syrup in a jug to release the juice and essential oils. Add the rose and lemonade. Stir well, taste and add more syrup if desired. The jug can then be stored in the fridge for an hour or two.  Serve in tall glasses filled with ice and garnish with lime slices and fresh mint.



Berry Rose Julep

The Berry Rose Julep puts a 'berrylicious' twist on the classic mint julep. It's perfect for warm weather affairs, whether you're enjoying some time with friends or just want to slip out onto the patio for a relaxing afternoon in the sun on your own.

Choose a nice, smooth whiskey for this drink - something like a softer bourbon or an Irish blended whiskey is ideal against the fresh berries. This drink also substitutes rosemary for the traditional mint, creating a sweet floral touch that's quite lovely against the pink wine. Add more berries if you like, and mix raspberries with blackberries if you have both on hand.


Ingredients:  (Serves 1) 45ml whiskey, rose, to top up, 5-6 raspberries and/or blackberries, a sprig of rosemary, extra rosemary and berries, to garnish.

Method: In the bottom of a tumbler, muddle the berries and rosemary. Add the whiskey, then fill the glass with shaved ice. Top up with rose, garnish with rosemary and a few berries, and enjoy it through a straw.



Rose Cosmo (serves 1)

The classic cosmopolitan is an ideal cocktail for a little rose. It already has the sweet fruits that pair so nicely with rose, and the recipe isn't too different from the original, so it's both familiar and novel. For the Rose Cosmo, the wine and citrus vodka play equal roles to form a pretty foundation.

This then gets a slight accent from triple sec and cranberry juice to produce a well-balanced cocktail that's easy to drink. In true cosmopolitan fashion, add as much cranberry juice as you like; this recipe produces a drier cosmo that can easily be sweetened by doubling or tripling the juice.


Ingredients: (Serves 1) 45ml citrus vodka, 45ml rose, 15ml triple sec, 15ml cranberry juice, orange twist, to garnish.

Method: Half fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the ingredients and shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled martini glass and decorate therim with an orange twist.



Jasmine Tea Tini

A tea-flavoured martini is a great choice as an afternoon drink, and jasmine tea is a wonderful, fragrant option. It's particularly nice when paired with rose in a simple and elegant vodka martini recipe. The Jasmine Tea Tini is easy to prepare and you can adjust each of the elements to suit your personal taste. Start by pouring equal parts of the vodka and rose, then increase either while reducing the quantity of tea, if you like.

Then add more of either the simple syrup or lemon juice as you see fit. This is also a lovely recipe to mix up by the jug and serve at a small gathering: keep everything in proportion and increase the pour of each ingredient according to the number of servings you need. You can stir it with ice in the jug, then pour it into cocktail glasses to serve.


Ingredients: (Serves 1) 30ml vodka, 30ml rose, 60ml jasmine tea, chilled, a splash of simple syrup, a splash of lemon juice, a jasmine flower or lemon twist to garnish.

Method: Half fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the ingredients, shake well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. If available, garnish with a jasmine flower; otherwise use a long lemon twist.


Extracted from Rose Made Me Do It: 60 Perfectly Pink Punches And Cocktails by Colleen Graham (Harper Collins) which is available now

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