Rose and Strawberry Summer Drinks – Sangria or Lemonade

When your roses smell good enough to eat, drink them!

 It’s been an amazing rose season this year. The air, especially at dawn and dusk, is filled with beautiful perfume, and how we wish it would last. My favorite roses are the old garden roses, once-blooming heirloom treasures that carry so many flowers they bend under the weight. They are beautiful and intensely fragrant, so much more so than most of the modern roses. The old garden roses include my favorite Gallicas, Damasks, Albas, Rugosas, and Bourbons. They were all discovered or bred prior to 1867 when the first modern hybrid tea rose was created.  

It has also been an incredible strawberry season, and since rose and strawberry go so nicely together, what better way to feature them than a beverage for a gathering. Both alcoholic and nonalcoholic versions are refreshing and delicious, and you can control the flavors by how much rose simple syrup you choose to add, and how many strawberries.

First, floral simple syrups

It’s fun to make simple syrups out of edible flowers such as roses, lavender, violets, pansies, and lilacs, or a garden herb that strikes your fancy. You can use these syrups to sweeten any number of dishes and beverages. 

            Drizzle a bit over ice cream or sorbet, or a slice of pound cake. Better yet, use a simple syrup to infuse any cake to keep it moist and add flavor. Maybe you’d like a little ribbon of it over a wedge of brie. Add the syrups to glazes for fish and other proteins, or just to sweeten up berries and other fruits.

An easy process

            Most simple syrup recipes will call for equal parts of water, sugar, and the flower or herb. This mixture must be brought to a simmer until the sugar dissolves, and then steeped. Once steeped, usually overnight, you strain and have your simple syrup.

The most basic simple syrup is just water and sugar in equal parts, brought to a simmer until the sugar dissolves. If you like to sweeten cold beverages such as iced tea or coffee, the simple syrup is already dissolved, so no long stirring is necessary!

            Simple syrups are incredibly popular used in cocktails and mocktails, lemonades, sparkling drinks, and teas. Just to make things a little more interesting for a gathering, try making a big batch of fruity Sangria that uses a base of rosé wine and is flavored with rose simple syrup and sliced strawberries. It is beautiful to behold, and makes great use of all those rose petals ready to fall in your garden. 

A caution!

Always use untreated roses that are grown organically, and if you don’t know, ask. Roses from a florist’s are treated with fungicides, herbicides, and insecticides in heavy amounts so they can travel the continents, and are never intended to be consumed. 

First, start with the syrup:

Rose Simple Syrup

Use any rose that is grown without pesticides or other chemicals. Look for the most fragrant for the best tasting syrup.
  • 2 cups rose petals, packed
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water

The petals from a rose that is just going past are perfect here, and you can also toss in some dried petals from spent flowers. In the dead of winter, you can make this with food-grade dried rose petals. In all cases, remove any green parts.

Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan, mix well, bring to a simmer. Continue simmering until all the sugar granules have dissolved. Cover, and let sit overnight. Then strain. Place in a jar or bottle and refrigerate. This makes about a pint.

Rose and Strawberry Sangria 

  • 1 bottle rosé wine
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup rose simple syrup, depending on preference
  • 1 cup strawberries, sliced
  • ½ tsp. rose water, optional
  • A few rose petals for garnish

            Starting with a less amount of syrup if you don’t like things too sweet, place all the ingredients in a large pitcher, stir, taste, and correct if needed. Refrigerate to rest it for a few hours. Add some ice, and enjoy! Serve in chilled glasses.

You can substitute or add other fruits to this, such as cherries or raspberries!

Rose and Strawberry Lemonade

The best way to make pink lemonade is with a natural red fruit or berry!

My idea of lemonade is lemons and water, no sugar. However, most people do not like something so tart, so for a party or special gathering, it is fun to make something a little sweeter to please everyone! You can also leave out the rose simple syrup and let folks add their own according to what they like, then everyone is happy.

  • 6 lemons
  • 6 cups of water
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1/3 cup rose simple syrup
  • A few drops of rose water, optional

This is a very flavorful lemonade. You can easily omit the strawberries and rose elements if you want your lemonade straight up, just use a plain simple syrup to sweeten. The whole lemon adds just a touch of bitterness which balances the sour and sweet, and it gives nice pulp to the drink.

Place one whole lemon, chopped up, in a blender along with 1 cup of the water and the strawberries. Purée well. Place in a mixing pitcher and add the zest of five lemons. Cut the lemons in half and use a press or reamer to remove all the juice and add to the pitcher.

Add the rest of the water and the simple syrup and mix well. Taste and add a bit more syrup if you like it sweeter. The rose flavor is delightful but subtle here; if you want more rose flavor, add a few drops of rose water, but use a light hand.

Always mix it up again before serving as the pulp will float. If you want less pulp, just use half a lemon or omit it altogether if you prefer.

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64 Comments Add yours

  1. BERNADETTE says:

    This is a beautiful post and I love, love, the creativity of the drink.

    1. Thank you Bernadette! When the roses are blooming, it’s always inspiring!

  2. Your posta always reminds me of my grandma’s cooking 😋😉 These drinks are super delicious 😋 I can feel the smell almost 😍

    1. Thank you Ribana! Many of these recipes had their origins somewhere in my mother’s and grandmother’s recipe boxes! Mom used to make simple syrups with elderberries and blackberries and she’d mix them with carbonated water and that was our “soda”!

      1. Oh yes! I know that “soda” too! And was so soo delicious and natural 😉😋 My favorite was with elderflowers 😍

      2. It was so good! Mom also made elderberry wine which, as an adult, I found way too sweet, but it does bring back memories.

  3. they are making me thirsty….!

    1. I’ll save you a glass!

  4. They look refreshing!!

    1. Thank you Charlie! They are really good thirst quenchers!

  5. It sounds delightful Dorothy, and your photos are beautiful! I adore roses…

    1. Thank you Jenna! Everyone was pleased!

  6. picpholio says:

    Delicious and save for those who have to drive 😉

    1. Yes! Everyone can be pleased, even the DDs!

  7. cmartzloff says:

    Sounds so good. I never knew roses could be used in such a way!

  8. NativeNM says:

    I love a good Sangria but I’ve never had much luck making it, I think I always pick the wrong wine. I would have more luck with the lemonade but I sure would love to give the Sangria another try.

    1. Give it a try, but don’t be afraid to make it how you would most likely enjoy it. Although traditionally made with a red wine, I find a white or rose more refreshing in the summer. Do you like dry or sweet wines? What are your favorite berries? The lemonade is really tasty too, the kids tell me they think it tastes like strawberry shortcake!

  9. Sounds lovely! My rose season is on a break but I look forward to making it when my roses bloom again. Does the syrup partake rose fragrnce as well?

    1. Thank you! The syrup has a subtle scent, but definitely rose. The flavor is also subtle, but there.

  10. Compared to you, I am the most boring person on the face of this earth! I wish we lived closer and could have coffee on a weekly basis because I think I’d come away with a lot of fresh ideas. Please enjoy a glass of that sangria for me. 🙂

    1. Thank you Judy, but I’ve been reading your blog for some time now, and you are definitely NOT a boring person on any level! My brain just can’t sit still, and I can certainly tell you that not all the ideas that pop into it are good ones!

  11. Sherry M says:

    i like the sound of the sangria. i used to make a rose petal sorbet. so delicious.

    1. Oh! A rose petal sorbet will have got be next on my list Sherry!

  12. How delicious! I have never tried anything made with rose petals. I have dandelions though does that count? 😂

    1. Sure does! Especially if you transform them into dandelion wine!

  13. Oh, I love your post! What a bloomed garden of flavor and color! ))))♥️((((

    1. Thank you! It’s the best!

      1. A Summer must for me! Thank you for the share and inspiration. ♥️

  14. foodzesty says:

    Fabulous recipe!!!

  15. Gail says:

    Roses make the most delightful surprise. You have mastered the art of a beautifully crafted cocktail. Cheers! 🍃🍷🌸🍃🍋

    1. Thank you Gail! The flavor is a surprise, but it is subtle too.

      1. Gail says:

        I made “sugared rose petals” once to put on cupcakes. It was divine. 💕🍃🌸

      2. It’s fun, isn’t it? And they keep fairly well too unless we have prolonged humidity. I usually have some sugared violets tucked away for cupcakes, too! 🥀💕

  16. terrie gura says:

    Oh. My. Goodness. Would I like a little ribbon of rose syrup drizzled over brie? Why, I certainly would. Let me put on a pretty hat, and I’ll be over about 4:00 today. Does that work? <3
    I'm swooning…and rose and strawberry sangria, yes please!

    1. Yes, just a touch…

  17. Ally Bean says:

    As much as I like the scent of roses, I don’t like the flavor of them. Odd, but true. However your photos of what you made are charming.

    1. Thank you Ally! True, the flavor is not for everyone, but when it is subtle it is often not identifiable.

  18. That hit the spot Dorothy.. I love drinks like this have bookmarked the recipes…hugs

    1. Hope you enjoy them as much as we have!

      1. I am sure I will Dorothy we have a berry farm shop just down the road..perfect place to buy them..hugs

  19. Christy B says:

    I have yet to grow roses in my garden. But I really like sangria! 😘💛

    1. Ah! It’s a most refreshing summer treat!

  20. Averyl says:

    Beautiful and looks delicious!

    1. Thank you Avery! They are both tasty!

  21. chef mimi says:

    Gah, I wish I could taste this. I’m not terribly fond of all things botanical, where they’re “not supposed to be!” But wow. These photos are incredible! I just might have to make this.

    1. Thank you Mimi! I love photographing there garden, and food too!

  22. That lemonade sounds good, but I must have sweetener!!

  23. Carol Taylor says:

    I’m with you on the no sugar I love tart drinks…

    1. It’s the best! And I find it much more thirst quenching than drinks with sugar.

  24. What a wonderful idea! I am certainly going to try this, I bet it tastes of summer!

    1. It tastes like the best of summer! Thank you!

  25. Lovely summer drinks!

    1. Thank you! Both are so refreshing!

  26. Stew Read says:

    Just right to help cool off on a hot day!

    1. You are so right there! Very refreshing.

  27. cakefiles says:

    Wow Dorothy! I am saving this because I want to try 😍

  28. Leah says:

    Your rose garden must be incredible! I can only imagine! I love the drinks, too, on your post. So summery and the pictures are lovely. 🙂

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed your virtual stroll in the garden. It’s a fleeting, but exquisite, season!

  29. Christy B says:

    I came back here to this post to get a look back at summer 😉 Seriously though, I’d be loving some sangria!

    1. Sangria always makes me think of summer and eating outside, enjoying the warmth and the green!

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