Few things feel as quintessentially summery as flowers. When the weather warms up, we want to stock up on them in every form and fashion. We want to fill our houses with freshly picked bouquets. We want to wear floral dresses everywhere we go. And we want to trade our go-to libations for floral cocktails—delicate drinks that feel subtle, seasonal, and absolutely special all at once.
The easiest way to make a floral cocktail is, of course, to toss a few flowers into your drink of choice. Ideally, the flowers will be edible—but even inedible ones will do. The point here isn’t flavor, so much as it is visual impact. You want a cocktail that looks summery. So why not plop a flower on the top and call it a day?
We want to wear floral dresses everywhere we go. And we want to trade our go-to libations for floral cocktails—delicate drinks that feel subtle, seasonal, and absolutely special all at once.
But by taking this simple, surface-level approach to floral cocktails, you’ve missed an opportunity. Because flowers have more to offer than aesthetic appeal. They’re loaded with fragrant aromas that gently complement the flavors in many of your favorite drinks. Elegant gins are only made better with the addition of rosewater, lavender, and elderflower. The same is true of many lighter rums and vodkas, and fresh, fruity liqueurs, too. Though larger-bodied drinks will overpower dainty floral flavors, brighter drinks tend to pair beautifully with them. And since there are tons of light, subtle liquors and liqueurs on the market, options for lovely floral cocktails abound.
The hallmark of an excellent cocktail is every ingredient working together in harmonious concert, to create a drink that feels much greater than the sum of its parts. Each piece highlights the strengths the others have to offer, sometimes blending with them to create new and unexpected experiences. Flowers—with all their dainty, inviting aromas—lend themselves beautifully to this task. And they make it easy for all of us to craft photogenic spring cocktails that taste as absolutely incredible as they look.
The Recipe: Lavender Grapefruit Gin Buck Cocktail
The Hero Ingredient: Lavender simple syrup infuses this cocktail with sweet, fragrant flavor. Plus, this recipe walks you through how to make your own, so you can keep some stocked in your home bar at all times.
Pro Tip: The gin you use in this recipe could change the cocktail’s flavor significantly, so think about what might make a good match. Fresher, more floral options are a great place to start. But feel free to experiment based on your own taste buds and preferences.
Why We Love It: Gin and lavender simple syrup are a match made in heaven, and you can use them as the foundation for all kinds of delicious floral cocktails. This one’s just the beginning!
The Recipe: Strawberry Hibiscus Paloma
The Hero Ingredient: Hibiscus syrup takes this classic warm-weather cocktail to a new level, offering fragrant notes that are both exciting and surprising.
Pro Tip: Opt for freshly squeezed lime juice instead of the store-bought stuff. The acidity in lime juice can cut through the tequila in your cocktail, making it even more drinkable. Plus, squeezing your limes by hand can add a welcome dose of texture (in this case, pulp) to your drink.
Why We Love It: Floral tequila cocktails can be hard to come by, but this hibiscus paloma makes the most of sweet strawberries, fresh flowers, and dangerously tasty tequila.
The Recipe: Lavender White Wine Sangria
The Hero Ingredient: Frozen peaches make the perfect springy addition to this delicious big-batch cocktail. Plus, they double as ice cubes, keeping your sangria cool without watering it down.
Pro Tip: Not into pinot grigio? Swap it out for a similarly fruity white—or any other wine you think will play well with strawberries, peaches, and lavender.
Why We Love It: Everyone’s favorite big-batch spring cocktail has gotten a floral makeover—one that’s left it even tastier (and honestly, a little bit prettier, too). Sangria is a no-fail addition to any party. And this floral rendition is as photogenic as it is flavorful.
The Recipe: Rose Lemon Spritzer
The Hero Ingredient: Two tablespoons of rosewater—though optional—take this cocktail from obvious to dynamic. The floral notes pair beautifully with the lemon and vodka, leaving this drink feeling (and tasting) anything but basic.
Pro Tip: If you want your cocktail to have this delightful pink color, you may have to add a few drops of blood orange or pomegranate juice. They won’t dramatically interfere with the flavor of your cocktail, and they’ll render it incredibly photogenic.
Why We Love It: In this cocktail, lemon juice and vodka combine to form a solid foundation of subtle flavor. And rosewater builds on those bases—rendering the drink even more special, without sacrificing its inherently delicate appeal.
The Recipe: Elderflower Aperol Spritz Cocktail
The Hero Ingredient: Champagne is the hero ingredient of virtually any cocktail you add it to, and this drink is no exception. Though most Aperol spritzes get their fizziness, this one gets its bubbles—and a little added booziness—from sparkling wine.
Pro Tip: This drink gets its floral notes from elderflower liqueur (in this case, St. Germain). But if you want your drink to look as pretty as it tastes, consider buying a little extra elderflower to garnish your glasses with.
Why We Love It: The aperol spritz is one of the easiest warm-weather cocktails around, and it tastes absolutely delightful when paired with elderflower liqueur. St. Germain is a worthy addition to any bar cart, and this cocktail will show you exactly why.
The Recipe: Blueberry Lavender Mojito
The Hero Ingredient: Fresh mint leaves, carefully muddled, can make or break a mojito. And even though this drink is loaded with other exciting flavors, the mint still acts as the cocktail’s center.
Pro Tip: If you’re looking for a boozier drink, skip the club soda. It’ll add bubbles to your drink, but you don’t really need them. So skip the sparkle if you want a stronger taste.
Why We Love It: Instead of asking you to learn how to make a new cocktail, this recipe invites you to dress up a classic you already know. Here, the mojito gets a flavorful makeover, thanks to the addition of fresh blueberries and lavender simple syrup—two ingredients that blend beautifully with the mojito’s white rum base.
The Recipe: Marigold Mezcal Margarita
The Hero Ingredient: Mezcal—with all its dark, smoky flavors—can really round out a margarita. And though it seems like the kind of ingredient that would overpower subtler floral aromas, here, it only elevates them.
Pro Tip: If you find the taste of mezcal to be a little intense, remember, you can always swap it for classic tequila. It will pair just as well with your marigold simple syrup as mezcal will.
Why We Love It: Fans of a margarita will surely appreciate this cocktail recipe, which proves “smoky” and “floral” are far from mutually exclusive. Here, fiery mezcal combines with marigold syrup, lime juice, and sugar to create a drink that’s absolutely irresistible—and decidedly warm-weather friendly.
The Recipe: Elderflower Strawberry Ice Cream Float
The Hero Ingredient: Ice cream makes everything better. And in this case, it absolutely carries this elderflower ice cream float.
Pro Tip: Not drinking? Use elderflower cordial or simple syrup. Drinking? Trade it for elderflower liqueur. (And maybe through some simple syrup in for good measure.)
Why We Love It: Ice cream floats are always a good idea, especially when you fill them with floral flavors. The best thing about this drink? You can add as much (or as little!) alcohol as you see fit.
The Recipe: Berrylicious Floral Cocktail
The Hero Ingredient: Pureed strawberries offer fresh fruit flavor that tastes so much better than what you’d get from a store-bought juice.
Pro Tip: Scrolling through this recipe, you’ll notice that Sugar and Charm has made two different kinds of ice cubes—both of them beautiful. While your cocktails will taste fine without these stunning strawberry and flower-filled cubes, they’ll definitely look better with them. So when serving these drinks at a party, consider investing the extra effort.
Why We Love It: These absolutely stunning cocktails aren’t at all hard to throw together, and they’re veritably delicious. Really, how could you combine lemonade, vodka, strawberries, and elderflower liqueur and get anything but a delicious drink?
The Recipe: Sparkling Strawberry Hibiscus Cooler
The Hero Ingredient: Hibiscus tea sets this cocktail apart from other floral drinks, which tend to get their fragrant flavors from homemade simple syrups.
Pro Tip: If you’re not a gin drinker, consider trading the gin/sparkling water combo for some kind of sparkling wine. The swap will taste just as great with the floral flavors—and if you’ll end up enjoying the drink more, it’s a trade worth making.
Why We Love It: While most floral cocktails get their fragrant flavors from speciality simple syrups, this drink gets its aromatic base from hibiscus tea. The result is a flavor profile that’s even more tannic and dynamic—and of course, just as lovely.
The Recipe: Orange Hibiscus Mai Tai
The Hero Ingredient: Light rum and dark rum combine in this recipe to create a booziness that’s sweet, well-rounded, and much appreciated.
Pro Tip: If your mai tais taste too sweet, consider upping the amount of lime juice you’re squeezing in. If they taste too sour, consider adding more honey. Keep playing this game of back-and-forth until they taste exactly the way you want them to—it’s that easy.
Why We Love It: This drink is the result of two kinds of rum, three kinds of juice, and one heaping handful of fried flowers. So needless to say, it packs a seriously flavorful punch. Delightful to drink and relatively easy to throw together, this mai tai might just become your new favorite spring cocktail.