Rose water is the distilled essence of rose petals. In Lebanese and other Middle Eastern cuisines, it is used to scent syrups, pastries, confections, ice creams, and puddings. Rose water has varying degrees of strength, so use it sparingly and adjust the amount to taste. Foods flavored with rose water should not taste like you’re drinking a bottle of perfume or eating a bar of soap. Flavors should simply be enhanced with a floral note.

Rose water is available at Middle Eastern grocery stores. Don’t live near one? Many supermarkets carry rose water as a specialty item. You can get good rose water online for less than $5/bottle.

You might also like to try Mymoune rose water (which is clear) and rose syrup (which is pink, and all natural) from Lebanon, pictured above. This gorgeous, organic rose water is made by two sisters on their parents’ farm outside of Beirut; they started their business to provide jobs and income for the women of their village. It may cost a twenty-spot, but authentic, beautiful ingredients like these inspire. Poke around their site and you’ll find you want more than just the rose water. When I go to Lebanon, I will visit the sisters and tell you all about them. Order their rose water, rose syrup, orange blossom water, and other beauties here.

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