Light on alcohol but full of flavor, this Parisian classic is a refreshing summer apéritif
Sipping a cocktail in the City of Lights – what could be better?
But traveling to France is a challenge right now. So we need to conjure up the spirit of Paris at home.
Starting with this pastel enticer. The Rose Cocktail has herbal tones and fruity highlights, yet its profile is decidedly dry. That makes it perfect for sipping before dinner. Or on the deck during a hot afternoon.
The Rose has a low alcohol quotient, so you can have two without worries. That may come in handy: We have a feeling this is going to be a long summer.
Recipe: The Rose Cocktail
We’ve discussed two other cocktails with “rose” in their name: The Jack Rose and the Irish Rose. Both contain base spirits (applejack and Irish whiskey, respectively) that are much higher octane than this drink.
The Rose Cocktail uses dry vermouth as its base – which is unusual for a cocktail. Relying on vermouth is what makes this drink less alcoholic than many other cocktails.
This recipe takes about 5 minutes to prepare and serves 1.
- 2 ounces dry (white) vermouth
- 1 ounce kirschwasser (dry cherry brandy; see Notes)
- 1 teaspoon raspberry syrup (may substitute Chambord; see Notes)
- maraschino cherry for garnish (preferably a brandied one; see Notes)
- Place all ingredients (except garnish) in a mixing glass half filled with ice. Stir briskly until the contents are chilled (about 30 seconds).
- Strain into a cocktail glass, preferably one that has been chilled. Garnish with a maraschino cherry and serve.
- Why stir this drink rather than shake? Because all the ingredients are clear. Shaking introduces oxygen bubbles, which can cloud the drink. But shake away if you like – we often do. The cloudiness dissipates quickly.
- A maraschino cherry is the traditional garnish for this drink, but you can skip it if you wish. For our pictures, we’ve used the bright, neon-hued cherries that supermarkets sell because we like the way their stems look. But you might want to try brandied maraschinos, which have much better flavor (though usually no stems). You can find them online or in any liquor store.
- Dry vermouth is a fortified wine with herbal flavors. Because it has a fairly low alcohol content, it will oxidize after it’s opened. To better preserve its flavor, we store it in the refrigerator.
- Kirschwasser (aka kirsch) is dry cherry brandy (so it’s a form of eau de vie). The name means “cherry water” in German. The best quality kirsch is usually imported (we favor German ones). It also tends to be pricey – $30 or more for a bottle of the good stuff. If you don’t have a favorite brand, ask your friendly liquor store for a recommendation.
- You can buy commercial raspberry syrup, but it’s easy to make your own. For a recipe, scroll down to the Notes on our post for the Clover Club Cocktail.
- Don’t want to use raspberry syrup? You can substitute Chambord, a raspberry liqueur that has a similar (but more complex) flavor.
- The Rose Cocktail dates back to about 1920, when it was invented by Johnny Mitta, who tended bar at the Hôtel Chatham in Paris. According to David Embury (in his book The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks), the Chambord variation of the cocktail may have been devised by someone named Albert, who mixed it up at the Chatham bar later in the 1920s.
- Ernest Hemingway lived in Paris during the 1920s – and he was very fond of kirschwasser (see our post on the A Farewell to Hemingway Cocktail for more about that). So did he ever drink the Rose Cocktail? Who knows? But Hemingway tended to drink every cocktail available, so probably.
- Today we launch our annual Summer Sippin’ and Snarfin’ Series. Throughout most of the year, we post only one cocktail recipe a month. But during the summer, we serve up drinks every other week (or even more frequently) because it’s hot and, well, we get thirsty. All the food recipes we feature during this time are summer appropriate, too. So look forward to plenty of good warm-weather drinks and eats.
“Mmm, nice,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “And no thorns either.”
“Yup,” I said. “Everything’s coming up roses after one of these.”
“Indeed,” said Mrs K R. “Je vois la vie en rose.”
“Sounds like a budding romance,” I said.
“Roses are pink, violets are blue,” said Mrs K R. “I need another of these, and I’m looking at you.”
Blooming right up.
You may also enjoy reading about:
Clover Club Cocktail
A Farewell to Hemingway Cocktail
East India Cocktail
Straits Sling Cocktail
Bee's Knees Cocktail
Or check out the index for more
I'm glad the alcohol content in this cocktail is low since I would be tempted to have two of these. I have a bottle of rose water on hand- maybe I could add a drop of this, too? I'm glad it's warming up and look forward to your increased number of cocktails coming up!
Hi Fran, really interesting idea with the rose water! I'd give that a try (just a drop, though) -- it'd add another dimension. Thanks for the comment.
Amazing clicks and delicious cocktail..this is really lovely that I want to have a sip too!
Hi Angie, trust me, you'd enjoy a sip! :-) Thanks for the comment.
This one is really tempting, but I don’t have any of the ingredients at all!
be well... mae at maefood.blogspot.com
Hi Mae, we always have kirschwasser around (we love the stuff), but I can see how most people wouldn't (most people aren't as crazed about cocktails as we are). Once we can go out to restaurants again -- might be some time, alas -- this would be a good drink to order. :-) Thanks for the comment.
This looks a real refreshing post. The sweet smell of rose itself is enough to soothe and calm me and your cocktail is definitely a visual treat. What a lovely click!
The color of this cocktail is simply superb John. weekend sorted :)
Love Kirsch and dry vermouth, so this is a winner! Have the ingredients and definitely want to try it, love the color and the cherry makes it perfect. Thanks!
Hi Hasin, it's a nice drink, isn't it? :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Priya, the color is terrific. As is its flavor. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Pam, cherries look so nice in drinks, don't they? :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi R, :-) Thanks for the comment.
I have to get some dry Vermouth because I only have the other kind. This drink has my name written all over it. Prost! I love your humerus dialogue.
So they call it a rose cocktail even though it's all cherry based?! It certainly is pretty as a rose!
Hi Gerlinde, we always have dry vermouth in our refrigerator as a substitute for white when when we need a little for cooking. Well, and drinks, of course! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Laura, who knows how they name cocktails! I'd guess it's named for the color. And yeah, it's pretty! Thanks for the comment.
I love this.The flavor combo sounds divine.
Hi Balvinder, it really is nice. :-) Thanks for the comment.
How pretty and delightful this is a very pleasant cocktail. Indeed, why stop at just one!
Hi Merryn, our question exactly! :-) Thanks for the comment.
how gorgeous does this look! you know, i don't think i've ever had vermouth. i'm one of those odd people who likes flowery scents and tastes in their food, so this would go down well with me! hope all is well in KR land:-)
oops! i've just noticed this drink doesn't actually have any rose flavouring. maybe i was thinking of that comment above re rosewater...
Hi Sherry, this is such a fragrant drink -- its aroma is almost as good as its flavor. Almost. :-) Thanks for the comment.
How pretty this looks! Perfect for a porch get together during these social distancing times since this looks like it is easy to mix and serve!!
Hi Sherry, no rose in it, but incredibly fragrant. More herbal than flowery, but still a delightful aroma. :-)
Hi Ansh, really easy to mix. Easier to drink. :-) Thanks for the comment.
How pretty! The cocktail glass is spotless clean. I bet the cocktail has very good fragrance too.
Looks so refreshing!
Hi Holly, great aroma and flavor. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Josiah, it is, it is! :-) Thanks for the comment.
well I am ready for some summer sippin' and I think I will start with this ;)
Hi Dahn, summer sippin' is the best! :-) Thanks for the comment.
We have been having driveway get togethers with a couple fo our neighbors during Covid. Everyone bring their drink and chair and we sit appropriately far apart and enjoy an adult beverage before we all go in to cook (Is this going to be our forever new normal?)
The rose cocktail sounds like a wonderful drink to have.
Oh, you have no idea... we have tickets and apartments booked for three weeks in Paris in October... not looking good. So this cocktail will have to do... just need the raspberry syrup (or Chambord). Hope you two are well.
Hi Natalia, :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Anne, we've been having those, too. Or visiting friends, and sitting far apart on patios, driveways. Hope it's not the new normal, but looks like it may be for awhile. We miss dinner parties! :-( Thanks for the comment.
Hi David, oh bummer re Paris! I agree -- it doesn't look good. At least not for this October. :-( But one of these will definitely do! Well, kinda. Thanks for the comment.
It sounds yummy and looks beautiful!
Hi Pam, truly yummy. :-) Thanks for the comment.
These are lovely shots of a beautiful drink!
Life's a bit rosier with this! Such pretty pink pics! Hope all is well.
Hi Amy, aw, thanks for that very kind comment. :-)
Hi Abbe, this drink will put you in the pink! Or something like that. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Gorgeous. And "light." Sounds like the perfect drink while sheltering in place. And I always love your photos!
Hi Jean, this is a delightful drink -- really worth a try. :-) Thanh for the comment.
The color is stunning....and since I have no desire to board a trans-Atlantic flight, I'll happily sip on this beautiful cocktail and dream of future holidays.
Hi Liz, the color is neat, isn't it? Although we're greatly looking forward to travel again, we know it's going to take time. Good thing we have this to sip on! :-) Thanks for the comment.
As they say... «C’est la vie!»
An incredible image in the beginning, but the one with the black background is perfect, one of your best.
Your rose cocktail looks to be a great summer drink. The color is amazing.
Yeah. We have a trip planned in November that we're almost positive we'll end up canceling. Haven't done it yet so we can still live in fantasy land, hoping it might happen. :-)
Hi Torviewtoronto, isn't that nice? Love pink cocktails! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Ron, thanks you so much for such a kind comment!
Paris is on my bucket list! I want to go someday! Love this beautiful cocktail! Perfect on a hot summer day.
Hi Ashley, Paris is wonderful. You'll love it! Thanks for the comment.
Love all the cocktail including this one you've been sharing. Sometime I wonder how big your bar area at home is :). In any case, I'd love take a sip of this while I watch the traffic in my balcony here in NYC. Thanks for sharing.
Hi Yi, we have a LOT of bottles of stuff that we rarely use -- we store those in the basement. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Denise, gosh, thanks for that very kind comment!
Welcome back, summer sippin'! I think I have everything I need to make this if I use the Chambord.
Hi Jeff, we LOVE the summer sippin' series. We always find amazing new drinks when we do it -- like this one. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Very pretty! And sounds really refreshing for a summer evening on the porch. With one of those brandied cherries... like you say, their flavor can't be beat.
Hi Frank, brandied cherries are awesome! SUCH good flavor! And really nice in this drink. :-) Thanks for the comment.
What a lovely simple cocktail. Vermouth is about all I can handle nowadays in alcohol, so I look forward to giving this a try. Thanks John!
I can picture Audrey Hepburn sipping this. So lady-like, pretty, and full of charm -- that's her and this drink, too.
Hi MJ, we like dry vermouth on the rocks for a predinner cocktail. And this drink, of course. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Carolyn, definitely an Audrey Hepburn cocktail! Thanks for the comment.
The Rose cocktail is going to be the perfect refreshing drink this summer on the deck. We can pretend we are overlooking on to the Louvre, while we enjoy this chilled little pretty in pink cocktail. Stay well and take care
Hi Bobbi, perfect deck drink. :-) Thanks for the comment.
When I read the title I thought it contained some sort of rose...rose color...looks so delicate and like the idea of low alcohol content...thanks for this super pretty cocktail recipe.
Have a wonderful week ahead John!
At first I thought the recipe would contain Rosé because of how it looked, I bet my girls would love this
Hi Juliana, just rose color, not flavor, in this one. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Raymund, Rosé n a cocktail is an interesting idea -- have to see if I can find one that contains it. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Nice! I adore a pretty cocktail.
Love this! I just wrote about conjuring up the spirit of France at home too. I'd love to do the conjuring with this cocktail in hand.
Hi Amalia, this one is both really pretty and really tasty -- perfect combo. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Lisa, most things are better with a cocktail in hand! :-) Thanks for the comment.
This is certainly a pretty cocktail! Great flavor combination too - a little sweet and a little tart.
Hi Laura, yup, a little of both. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Post a Comment