DRINK | Rosella Cocktails - 3 Ways!
The boyfriend has the greenest thumb of anyone I know, so when he started growing a rosella tree in our yard I shouldn’t have been surprised when it grew crazy big seemingly overnight! With an abundance of these tart red fruits, we turned out attention to finding as many uses for them as possible. A bottle of vodka later and we had some pretty great cocktail recipes!
I can already hear some of our international readers scratching their heads. “What is this ‘rosella’ you speak of?!” they ask. It may be little harder for you to obtain the key ingredient for this recipe, but trust me, it’s totally worth the extra effort!
The Rosella goes by many names, but essentially it is a plant in the Hibiscus family. It both flowers and produces these vibrant, fleshy, flower-looking ‘fruit’ that, while not actually a fruit, is totally edible and can be used for cooking and flavouring. The red flesh of the rosella has an amazing tart, tangy sweetness and can be used to make tea, made into jams and even used in many folk medicine remedies.
For those of you who may not have access to rosellas straight from the bush, I am told you can buy the fruits from health food stores in the US (sometimes packaged as “Flor de Jamaica”) or Caribbean or Asian supermarkets in the UK.
For our cocktail recipes we infused a bottle of vodka with the rosellas. The rosellas themselves snap away from the branch quite easily, after which you will need to remove the large seed from inside, leaving only the red outer layer. To do this, run a sharp knife around the base of the green leaves on the pod, pressing firmly through the flesh until you can feel the seed inside. When you have scored a line around the base of the whole pod, you should be able to firmly pull on the stem and the seed should pop out from the red flesh. Do this over a sink so you can run the rosella under the tap as you go as ant sometimes like to live inside.
Once you have your rosellas prepared, ensure they have been thoroughly washed and then simply cram as many as you can into the vodka bottle. The longer you leave the mixture, the stronger the flavour. We were impatient, so we only let our vodka infuse for a week, but the taste was still delicious! I’m looking forward to making these cocktails again in a couple of months when the flavours have really developed!
Alternatively, if you don’t want to infuse your alcohol (or you want to use different alcohol), you can boil the rosella down to create a syrup that you add to the drinks, similar to a basic sugar syrup.
First up an easy fruit cocktail: The Rosella Screwdriver! Perfect for you Rosella First-Timers, mixed with orange juice, it’s not too strong as the juice softens out the rosella flavour. As an added bonus; check out how pretty it looks as the colours mix together!!
40ml of Rosella Vodka
Slices of orange/lemon
1. Pour the vodka into a tall glass filled with ice.
2. Top up with orange juice and garnish with slices of orange/lemon and a seeded rosella.
Next up, my personal favourite: The Rosella Sour! Served on the rocks, this baby is almost too easy too drink, if you know what I mean! I had a few too many of these for ‘testing’ purposes….
40ml Rosella Vodka
20ml lemon juice
10ml sugar syrup
1 dash of Angostura Bitters
1. Place all ingredients into a shaker with ice cubes. Shake well.
2. Serve on the rocks: Pour into a short glass filled with crushed ice. Top with a rosella and a slice of lime.
Last but not least, this cocktail was for the boys who are all about the classic: Tom Collins (with a twist!) Now your usual Tom Collins is made with Gin, so of course you can infuse your own to make these bad boys. However, a Tom Collins is just as good with Vodka, so seeing as we already had a big bottle on the go, we pressed on…
40ml of Rosella Vodka (or Gin)
20ml of Lemon Juice
10ml of Sugar Syrup
1. Add 40ml of Rosella Vodka, 20ml of Lemon Juice and 10ml of sugar syrup into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well.
2. Pour into a tall glass, filled with crushed ice.
3. Top up with soda water and garnish with lemon zest and a seeded rosella.
And there you have it! So easy to make and you won’t see these cocktails on a bar menu! All your friends will be super impressed with your exotic new mixes at your next dinner party. Don’t worry, we’ll let you take all the credit! Enjoy!