Someone told me once that 70% of what we taste is actually smells. Personally, I love the taste of the smell of flowers. Frequently, as in one of my favorite candies, Chowards Violet Mints, floral flavors taste a bit like soap, but I guess I kind of like that. It makes my mouth feel elegant on the inside. I love rose water in a lassi and once made a baked Palestinian dessert with layered pita, cream, rose water and pistachios.
To me, roses are synonymous with the sunny wealth of summer. Rose Brandy is an easy way to utilize this temporal flavor. I only use home-gardened flowers because those long-stemmed supermarket roses are weak fragranced from over hybridization and are farmed with toxic chemicals which endanger the underpaid workers. Preserving the beautiful blossoms picked from the yards of dear friends just tastes better.
I made a batch last summer with foraged petals from all over town. Having a bottle sitting a shelf in my room during the cold, gray winter months was like having the sweet essence of summer stoppered up in my sanctuary. I used it all year for sipping and baking. I made a sticky, strange and delicious dessert by simmering purple rice with coconut milk and the brandy. I once mixed it in coconut sorbet with lemon, and recently added a bit to a plum clafoutis. It's quite versatile and unusual. More roses can be added as found, and the longer it sits the more intense the flavor is. It's so concentrated that I only ever used a tiny bit, and because of the preservative powers of alcohol and sugar, it keeps all year long. The end of last year's bottle is still perfectly good, the petals intense and succulent from soaking in honey and brandy.
1/3 rose petals
I picked the roses from the side of my friend's house, selecting only the good, fully developed blossoms and a few nearly open buds. These round white roses had a very unusual, sweet smell, almost like vanilla. If I get a chance, I might add some deep red roses later on. I didn't rinse them off because a friend told me you're not supposed to when making tinctures, and this is kind of like a tincture. They had a few little bugs on them, so I shook the petals off and refrigerated the bag overnight.
I pushed the petals into a clean decanter, then covered them in brandy and honey.
I capped and shook the decanter vigorously, bruising and swishing the petals in the syrup. After sitting for a while, no matter the color, the petals will turn the same color as the brandy.
I put it on my windowsill because food makes great decoration. It should be nice and rosy in a month or two or three.