The Cardamom Rose Cocktail

The Cardamom Rose Cocktail is a romantic cocktail made with a homemade rose simple syrup, fresh citrus, and bitters ~ it’s got a gorgeous pink color!

Cardamom Rose Cocktail with baby roses

This cocktail combines so many things I love. And it gave me a chance to try out the Rose simple syrup I made on Tuesday. This drink is a good example of the craft cocktail movementwhich I think is one of the most exciting niches in food today. It’s actually pushing the boundaries of our experience of flavor, and if you’ve been in a bar lately you’ve probably noticed its influence. Bartenders are experimenting with creative and unusual recipes using fresh juices, seasonal ingredients, and unusual spices and flavors.

Cardamom Rose Cocktail on the rocks

One of the most exciting trends is that bars are making their own in house flavorings and syrups, so the creativity is just explosive. Think tinctures of tobacco, chipotle, cacao, clove… part of the art is finding flavor marriages that make sense. Hendrick’s is a Scottish gin that’s actually flavored with rose petals and cucumber, so it’s a good paring with the rose syrup. The Peychauds Bitters are a little sweeter and have a more pronounced cherry flavor than the more common Angostura Bitters, so they complement the floral element in this cocktail too.

Cardamom Rose Cocktail 2

The cardamom rose cocktail starts with a cardamom pod. It gets lightly muddled, or crushed, at the bottom of the shaker. If you don’t have a muddler, use a wooden spoon. I like to start with a toasted pod, which just adds depth to the cardamom flavor. It’s easy to do, just toss it around in a dry pan over medium heat for a few minutes. Then in goes the gin. I don’t usually drink gin, so I used a couple of the small airline sized bottles in my collection. I keep building my collection every time I find myself in a liquor store and it really pays off when I need a certain type or brand of alcohol for a drink or recipe.

Cardamom Rose Cocktail ingredients

Then there is the all important dash of bitters. Bitters are such an interesting ingredient; they’re alcoholic herbal tinctures that were originally formulated as medicines, and all by themselves they do have a strong medicinal taste. They aren’t meant to be consumed alone

Bitters are concentrated tinctures combining herbs, spices and botanicals, such as cardamom, aniseed and dried orange peel, their flavors typically (but not always) expressed in high-proof alcohol, with a bracing bitterness from gentian, quassia bark, dandelion or wormwood. Bitter is an evolutionary alarm signal sent by nature that a plant is potentially dangerous—but sometimes the risk comes with rewards. “Whenever a bitter flavor hits your tongue, it lights up your brain and sends you one of two messages: ‘This could kill you,’ or ‘This could be fun,’ ”

Apparently there is something to this theory. A dash of bitters can wake up a drink like nothing else.

Cardamom Rose Cocktail with shaker and flowers

This drink can be served straight up or over ice. You can also use a martini glass if you want to. I adjusted the amounts slightly to bump up the citrus. All the flavors in this drink are evident, from the cardamom, to the rose, and the citrus. The bitters leave a pleasant heat at the back of the throat. I hope you try it, it’s very unusual and pleasing.

Cardamom Rose Cocktail with a rose petal

My husband coincidentally just downloaded The Drunken Botanist, by Amy Stewart, for me on his kindle and I’ve been enjoying reading about the ways in which humans have used plants to distill, brew and embellish alcoholic drinks throughout time. The book delves into history, botany and mixology and it was a really enjoyable read. I recommend it if you want an introduction into the subject.

If you love the idea of a floral cocktail, you have to try my Honeysuckle Vodka Lemonade!

3.36 from 100 votes

The Cardamom Rose Cocktail

Course cocktail
Cuisine American
Author Sue Moran


  • 2 oz Hendrick's Gin an airline sized bottle is just the right amount
  • 1 oz ruby red grapefruit juice
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz rose simple syrup
  • 2 dashes Peychaud's Bitters
  • 1 cardamom pod if you want to intensify the flavor, toast in a dry pan for a couple of minutes


  • Put the cardamom pod in a cocktail shaker and gently muddle, or crush, it. Give it just enough pressure to crack the pod and a few of the inner seeds.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients and then shake well with ice.
  • Strain over ice into an old fashioned glass and garnish with a rose petal.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

Make it your own ~

  • This would work with vodka, too.


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    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    April 16, 2013 at 5:28 am

    thanks for sharing..

  • Reply
    Magnolia Verandah
    April 6, 2013 at 10:17 am

    oh dear – gin and tonic is my drink of choice – long glass, no ice, slice of lime, so this has to be good as it has all my favourite flavours – cardamon, bitters, grapefruit, and lemon all I need is the rose syrup – I think I would be in heaven!

  • Reply
    Debby Foodiewife
    April 6, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    I love the color of this drink! I was intrigued by the simple syrups that you made, and wondered what concoction you’d dream up. My husband and I enjoy a cocktail on Friday nights. I’ve never tried bitters before. Love the food styling of this shot.

  • Reply
    Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
    April 6, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    This drink looks so, SO lovely! I’ve been wanting to try Peychaud’s Bitters, and this is just another reason to go find them. I’m loving your lavender and rose syrups and think we DEFINITELY need to live close enough to toddle back and forth with our bottles and jars full of goodies a few times a week ;P

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      April 6, 2013 at 3:12 pm

      I wish they made the bitters in the teeny size, too. I have a feeling I’m going to have quite a collection of bottles before I’m done.

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    April 6, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    I love all of the history that goes along with cocktails. These are so pretty and I would agree with Tabitha…a signature drink at a wedding would be quite lovely. Gorgeous photos!

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      April 6, 2013 at 3:11 pm

      Me too, Annie. I’m getting really interested in all the intricacies of cocktails, they’re sort of like delicious chemistry experiments!

  • Reply
    Julia Holden
    April 6, 2013 at 12:49 am

    That’s the teensiest bottle of Hendricks I’ve ever seen!

  • Reply
    Averie @ Averie Cooks
    April 6, 2013 at 12:32 am

    Given my day, I had more than a few recipe fails, all my own fault over things that I should have known better about…but yeah, I could slam a couple of these, no problem. Beautiful, Sue!

  • Reply
    Bourbon & Pearls
    April 5, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    Oh that’s beautiful, it would make a lovely wedding reception welcome cocktail.

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