Chances are you may have seen a dish that includes edible flowers, whether it be on Instagram, in a restaurant, or maybe even at one of your friend's dinner parties.
However, one aspect which is far less common is using flowers in your drinks - that is until now. In fact, floral cocktails are set to become one of the big trends of the summer - in fact, they've already started to emerge as a favourite with certain celebrities and are now making their way onto the menus of some of the capital's most discerning cocktail bars.
And when you think about it, it's not really a surprise - not only do they look beautiful as a garnish, providing interest and colour, but also bloom in the glass, creating a unique, unusual and delicate taste combination.
If this has got you thinking about how you can create your own, Pip McCormac, the country's leading authority on edible flowers, and author of The Herb and Flower Cookbook, has teamed up with Interflora to create some recipes that are certain to transform your summer get togethers...
Nasturtiums are a savoury flower, peppery like radishes, nowhere near as sweet as their fiery petals might suggest. Here, they perform the same duty as olives, turning neat spirits into an eminently drinkable aperitif.
You will need:
Pickled nasturtium seeds
100g fresh nasturtium pods
½ tbsp salt
1 tsp pink peppercorns
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp light brown sugar
100ml white vinegar
For the cocktail:
1 tbsp dry vermouth
1 tbsp pickled nasturtium juice
Nasturtium flowers to serve
1 Wash the nasturtium seeds in cold running water, before putting them into a pickling jar with the salt, peppercorns, mustard seeds, sugar and vinegar. Screw the lid of the jar firmly shut and leave for at least three days, or for up to six months
2 When ready to serve, put the vodka, vermouth and pickling juice into a cocktail shaker with some ice. Shake together and then strain into a glass. Add four or five pickled nasturtium pods and garnish with a head or two of nasturtiums.
This is the best kind of cocktail – low effort, but with huge results. The coolness of the cucumber, the twist of lemon and the aniseed pep of the fennel flower come together to make one wholly refreshing drink, a depth of flavour running through the three additions.
You will need:
1 litre gin
1 cucumber (sliced into ribbons)
Zest of two lemons, plus more for decorating
1 Put all the ingredients except the cloudy lemonade together into one jug, carafe or bottle. Cover and leave to infuse for at least two hours, but ideally overnight.
2 Place some ice into your chosen glass, pour over a measure of gin and top up with lemonade. Garnish with a swirl of lemon zest and a scattering of fennel flowers.
Raspberry is the dominant flavour here as rose just adds a subtle, floral, adult note, any more and it would overpower completely. Serve with sparkling water, tonic, tap or even lemonade. You can make a bottle of this and keep it in the fridge for a week or so.
You will need:
2 tbsp honey
3/4 tsp rose water
Thin, round lemon slices, to serve
Fresh, unsprayed rose petals, to serve
1 Put the raspberries, honey and water into a saucepan over a low heat, stirring so that the honey dissolves. Bring almost to the boil then drain through a fine sieve, discarding the pulp. Add the rosewater, cover and leave to cool completely.
2 When you’re ready to serve, put some ice into a glass and pour around 25ml of the cordial over it. Top up with the water or mixer of your choice and serve with thin rounds of lemon and rose petals to garnish.
A word of warning: make sure any flowers you use in food or drinks are pesticide-free. Your best bet is to find a food-focused retailer, ensuring you can eat what you buy. Another option if to go foraging – but make sure you know what you’re picking, and don’t forage where pesticides or chemicals might have been used.
Remember, you must be 18+ to drink - drink responsibly. You can find out more here.