Saturday, June 16, 2012

Homemade Booze: Yellow Rose Liqueur

A single rose can be my garden... a single friend, my world. – Leo Buscaglia 

Rose scented and clear, light yellow.
Sorry for no post yesterday. We were kind of busy. We are planning a move in the very near future and it was time to start looking at houses. It’s quite a process. I hope to make it up to you with a liqueur post.

Flower liqueurs are among the most rewarding to make, especially when you have petals that are very fragrant. Rose is among the best.

Photo: roswellsgirl, Flickr ccl
I have made rosa rugosa liqueur in the past and it was a hit with those I gave it to. So I thought why not do it again? But it had to be different this time…somehow.

The rose I chose is an old variety that was a favourite in years gone by. It goes by many different names: Harrison’s Yellow, Hogg's Yellow, Oregon Trail Rose, The Yellow Rose of Texas and Yellow Sweet Brier.

The official name is Rosa “Harrison’s Yellow.” It was named for George Harrison, an attorney in New York in the early 1800s. It was discovered in his garden – a chance cultivar of another rose, rosa foetida (a yellow rose from Persia). Foetida provided a great boost  to rose cultivation in Europe where there were no native yellow varieties. From there yellow roses made their way to the colonies in the New World.

A nurseryman from Long Island, William Prince, took some cuttings from Harrison's garden and began selling the rose in 1830. Because of the early date, this rose has become naturalized at old house sites throughout Canada and the USA and escaped into the wild along the Oregon Trail (hence that name). 

This shrub rose is quite fragrant and can be enjoyed even from a distance if a breeze is blowing. It blooms profusely from late spring through early summer. The name “sweet briar” is due to the fact that the branches are quite thorny.

Harrison’s Yellow is very dependable, can reach heights up to 4-6 feet and is hardy from USDA Zones 3a to 9b. That’s quite a growing range, which accounts for it prominence in old homesteads in both Canada and US.

All rose petals are best picked in the early morning, just after the dew has evaporated, or late in the evening before dew forms. This rose is one of those roses that people remember from their grandmother’s (or her mother’s) house so if you don't have one that may be a good place to start looking...

Yellow rose liqueur can be enjoyed chilled on its own or better yet in cocktails where the floral taste adds an interesting twist. Think of a yellow rose mojito, martini, or even spiked rose lemonade.

As you can see, rose liqueur certainly can have backyard patio uses.

Of course, ensure that wherever you harvest is free from pesticides and pollution.

Yellow Rose Liqueur
Time: 1 week  |  Yield: 2 x 375 ml
1 L mason jar
1L (loose) Harrison’s Yellow rose petals
375 ml vodka
1-1/4 cups water
1/1-4 cups sugar

Wash and dry the mason jar. Fill the jar with petals, loosely packed. Pour the vodka over the rose petals and seal. Let steep for 1 week.

After the week strain the infused vodka through fine cotton cloth. Squeeze out any excess liquid. The resulting vodka should be crystal clear.

Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a sauce pan. Let boil for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Combine with the infused vodka and bottle.


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