Looking down the bar at the Grant Grill Lounge inside The US Grant Hotel in San Diego, you might think you were in a futuristic florist. A bounty of blossoms adds pops of color, floral aromas and unexpected pep to a number of cocktails.
A ruby red rose juts out of the Hibiscus and Rose Sweet Tea Vodka, a bright yellow dandelion floats at the center of the Dandelion Ramos Flip, and the Rooftop Angelica Julep stars delicate white flowers.
Obviously, they look pretty and smell lovely, but are tipplers supposed to consume these natural garnishes or just discard them like paper umbrellas?
“Not only are they edible, they also impart a major flavor characteristic of the cocktail,” says Jeff Josenhans, director of venues and overseer of the beverage program.
“For example, the Angelica is very savory. It’s a darker, herby flavor. We infuse them into the bourbon, which balances out the sweetness of the alcohol.”
Those flowers are grown in the rooftop garden and freshly harvested every morning, while the hotel’s florist and producers from the local farmers market deliver the others daily.
Because of availability, the seasonal sippers are only available from April through July.
No matter which growing region they’re in though, mixologists everywhere are turning to petal purveyors to find floral elements for their craft cocktails.