Pink Peony Colada Cocktail, with homemade peony syrup, rum and coconut milk, ornamented with peony blossoms ice cubes is a First!
For The Love Of Pink Peonies
Our love affair with edible flowers is an ancient one, and aren’t we tickled ‘pink’ about that!
Each year, in the month of May, the durable peony plant bursts its way out from winter’s earth.
The pinkest pink flowers inspire the landscape of budding plants to compete.
Concurrently, the month of May kicks off wedding season, and Mother’s Day in America.
Those gorgeous pink peonies want to be the star of these momentous occasions.
A Pink Cocktail For The Ladies!
Okay gents, this cocktail is one you are sure to enjoy too, I promise!
I debated long and instinctively about the recipe I wanted to create for this beautiful pink cocktail.
Certainly, I could have gone with a sparkling rose, to bubble and froth around the peony ice cubes.
But I didn’t want the sparkling rose to drown out the natural color of the peony syrup, we will make with the blossoms.
Eventually, the soft white of coconut milk was to become the canvas to intensify the gentle pink of the peony.
What’s In Your Colada
Sure, sure, sure, most folks think only of pineapple, rum and coconut milk when they think of colada anything.
Do you know what a ‘colada’ is?
I’ll tell you.
A colada is a mixed drink of rum, coconut cream or milk, ice and fruit or fruit juice, usually served with a garnish from the fruit.
Well, well, well, there you have it!
I knew exactly what I wanted in the creation of my peony colada.
The First EVER Pink Peony Colada Cocktail Is Right Here!
Having grown up in a Mediterranean home, in which we cook with the essence of flowers often, I wanted to create something new.
Middle Eastern folks have used rose essence and orange blossom essence in our cooking since, forever.
You have seen flower essence often in my desserts, if you’ve been a friend of Whisk and Dine for any length of time.
For this lovely peony colada cocktail, I wanted the true essence of the flower to be the star.
Not drown out its delicate flavor with heavy creams, or sweet sparkling bubbly.
So remember, your first ever, real pink peony colada cocktail was right here and nowhere else!
Let’s Talk About Edible Flowers
I remember back in 2004, when I worked a catering party (a family company), and edible flowers were being served for the first time.
The men pushed them to the side, while they brought a bright-eyed smile to the ladies.
Let’s be clear about edible flowers; they are basically just herbs.
Every part of most plants, for medicinal use, is considered an herb; leaf and petal to root.
So I am going to embrace that concept from a culinary point of view.
Flowers, not unlike green herbs, are not all edible, so get to know your flowers.
You just need to know the varieties that produce the flavors, or holistic affects, you are after.
That being said, cookies, cakes and drinks all look far more appealing with colorful edible flowers on them.
What To Make With Flowers?
Oh, I am so glad you asked!
For the fabulous opportunity to cook on The Great American Recipe with PBS, I knew I had to wow the judges in episode 1.
First round, right out of the starting gate, I made a divine rosewater baklava, with rose petals. Sure wowed them!
Since then, I published my second cookbook, an entire book dedicated to muffins, unlike any you’ve had!
Of course, I had to create a Baklava Muffin with rosewater and rose petals!
However, throughout my blog you will find other fabulous recipes using edible flowers.
- Butterfly Pea Flower Tea Bread – a delicate tea made from butterfly pea flowers infused into a yeast bread and oh so lavender in color.
- Stuffed Pumpkin Blossoms – a very Italian tradition of stuffing the squash blossoms, only I delicately saute them, instead of fry, and stuffed with a lovely egg omelette.
- Cranberry Orange Blossom Pie – while I have so many recipes with orange blossom, this tart, sweet and gluten-free crust pie is a holiday favorite.
- Rosewater Baklava and Rosewater Baklava Muffins – you may have seen me make this on The Great American Recipe on PBS.
- Borage and Apricot Muffins – a beautiful blue flower, sitting proud on top of my apricot and flaxseed muffin, 1 of 52 muffins in My Muffin Madness cookbook.
- Celebration Cookies – with an array of various edible flowers baked on a shortbread cookie.
Why We Love Color In Our Food And Drinks
I’m sure there is an entire psychology about food and people.
But I’m not going to dabble in that.
What I will say, with certainly, is that people have psychological reactions to color in food.
It is said to affect our senses and have an important effect on what we choose.
Not sure how that explains why little kids don’t like ‘green stuff’ on their plates (lol).
I do know that various colors trigger emotions.
I’d love to know how your response to the delicate pink peony color of this luscious cocktail.
For myself, it felt soft, gentle, hopeful and happy.
And… it tasted like, all the above!
Making Pink Peony Syrup For Desserts And Cocktails
If you are a cocktail drinker, you know about the ‘simple syrup’ made for the base of many of your cocktails.
Basically, a simple syrup is equal portions of sugar and liquid, boiled until it thickens into a syrup consistency.
The sky’s the limit as to what essence or flavors you want to infuse into that syrup.
A peony syrup is just that:
- Sugar and water.
- Lots of peony petals.
- A little rum, which helps in extracting the essence from the petals.
- Simmer until the petals shrink, the liquid becomes syrupy and turns a lovely pale pink.
- Strain and keep in the fridge until ready to use.
Extracting Peony Essence For Eating And Drinking
The biological approach to extracting flavor, scent or essence from herbs is by soaking or steaming.
Soaking in an alcohol product, called tinctures, produces a more intense result.
While soaking in water, produces a more gentle extraction.
However, not everyone is interested in the alcohol content.
So, I do both.
I have placed a little water in the pot, along with a little rum and sugar, simmer the petals briefly.
After a brief simmer, turn the stove off and allow the extraction to cool and soak.
The alcohol content has been simmered out.
You now have a lovely flavor, essence, for your cocktail.
How To Make A Pink Peony Colada Cocktail
Once you have made the peony syrup, and it has chilled, the rest is fast and easy.
- A few ice cubes (plain ice), goes into a cocktail shaker first.
- Add a few shots of white rum.
- Followed by a few shots of coconut milk, not coconut cream.
- About half a cup of the peony syrup, which remember is water, petal extract and simmered rum.
- Shake really well allowing the drink to blend and chill.
- Pour into small 4 ouce glasses with peony ice cubes, and serve.
Don’t forget to make the peony ice cubes ahead of time!
Making Peony Ice Cubes
How beautifully whimsical to look into a cocktail glass and see your ice cubes with flower petals frozen inside!
The process is so easy.
Simply fill a few ice trays with water, press down a few petals for each cube, freeze and they pop out easily.
I first made these lovely ice cubes for a Cherry Blossom Cocktail, using cherry blossoms.
For this lovely pink cocktail, I’ve done the same with the peony petals.
Once made, store the cubes in an airtight container for other drinks, including water!
What Does Peony Flower Essence Taste Like
Often times, with flowers, they do not taste the way they smell.
For instance, the nasturtium, a lovely sweet fragrance, has the flavor of radishes.
Roses, on the other hand, have a flavor much like they smell.
Peonies, for me, are more delicate in flavor than rose petals, more like a dehydrated strawberry.
A ‘Fur Friendly’ Note About Your Pink Peony Colada Cocktail
Contrary to your usual pet indulgences, don’t let these guys sip on your cocktail.
Apparently peonies are not ‘fur tummy’ friendly.
Go figure. Ancient Chinese medicine has embraced every aspect of the peony plant for its various medicinal properties for mankind.
Just not pets.
Here’s another interesting ‘edible flower’ piece of information I recently picked, nearly from the horses mouth.
A stunning field of buttercups growing at a nearby horse farm, while I was on my way to the cattle farm to pick up my beef.
I asked the cattle farmer about the buttercups.
“Buttercups are poisonous to horses, and yet not so to my cattle, who have four stomachs and are able to digest them with no problem.”
So, know your flowers before you experiment!
- Small saucepan – for making the syrup
- Measuring cup and spoons
- Cocktail shaker
- Shot glass
- Ice tray
- White rum
- Peony petals
- Coconut milk
Pink Peony Colada Cocktail Recipe
- Small saucepan
- Cocktail shaker
- Ice tray
- Shot glass
- Peony Syrup makes 10 oz.
- 1 cup Peony petals just petals
- 1 cup Water
- 1/2 cup White rum
- 1/2 cup Sugar
- Pink Peony Colada Cocktail
- 2 shots White rum
- 2 shots Coconut milk not cream
- 1/2 cup Peony syrup
- 1/4 cup Plain ice
- Peony ice cubes
- Peony Syrup
- To make the peony syrup, place water, sugar and 1/2 cup of rum in a small saucepan, on medium low heat. When bubble begin to form, add the peony petals. Stir and let is simmer until the petals have wilted to almost nothing.
- When the liquid begins to swirl with a thicker viscosity, turn it off and allow it to steep for about 30-minutes. Strain and store in an airtight container in the fridge.
- Pink Peony Colada Cocktail
- In a cocktail shaker container, place a few plain ice cubes. Add the rum, peony syrup, coconut milk and peony syrup. Top on, give a good shake, allowing the milk to blend well with the ingredients and the ice cube to chill the mixture.
- Place a few, or one medium size, peony petal ice cubes in a 4 ounce glass, pour the cocktail and serve.