Preserving Summer with Homemade Fragrant Rose Elixir


This summer I grew a variety of roses called Grand Dame, which I chose because of its old fashioned rose fragrance, and all of it’s bright pink petals were either used as tea or made into an elixir. Rose elixir is one of my most favorite herbal extracts. An elixir is an herbal extract, using half alcohol and half sweetener. They couldn’t be easier to make or use, and once you try your hand at making an elixir you will see what I mean.

Here are some of my favorite ways to use rose elixir. I’d love to hear your ideas of using elixirs…the possibilities are endless!

  • Take a teaspoon right out of the bottle as for an uplifting medicine. Rose is gently calming, cooling on hot days and soothes heartache and stress.
  • Add a tablespoon to 2 cups of water, carbonated, tap or mineral or even juice. I have a Soda Stream carbonater, so I use my elixirs as homemade, natural flavors for the bubbly water.
  • Add to hot water for an herbal tea like experience. Pair this with a hot bath.
  • Add to bitter medicines and teas to improve the flavor.
  • Drizzle over a dense cake or pastries. Gently warm the elixir by placing the entire bottle/jar in a cup of hot water. I have had this on plain English muffins, yum!
  • Elixirs make great additions to alcoholic drinks, so mix away with Rose martinis, cosmos, or in your own creations.
  • Apply rose elixir directly to the skin to instantly soothe and heal burns. Reapply whenever you feel the burning sensation come back. The skin will be a little sticky, so let it dry and keep away from fabric. Whether sunburn or from a contact with something burning, rose elixir is the best thing I have ever found to treat burns. For this reason alone it is useful to have around!


Directions for making Rose Elixir
  1. Fill a pint jar with fresh, fragrant rose petals. The more fragrant, the better.
  2. Pour alcohol over the roses until you have filled half the jar. Shake it a little bit to let the rose petals decrease in size so you can see the level of alcohol. I like to use pure grain alcohol, but you can use brandy or vodka.
  3. Spoon in honey or vegetable glycerine to fill the jar just below the top of the jar. I haven’t used sugar in an elixir, but I bet that you could.
  4. Put a lid on it. Label.
  5. Shake every few days. The first couple of days I shake it a few times to make sure the honey and alcohol are properly blended.
  6. Let steep for 4-8 weeks.
  7. Strain into a clean jar. Press the roses to squeeze any last drops of elixir. Cap and label. Use as desired.
The photos above show that as soon as the alcohol is added, the extraction process is starting to work. The delicate rose petals are leeching their constituents to the alcohol.
I like to store my finished elixir in a Boston Round bottle, those common brown medicine bottles, to protect it from light. If you don’t have any Boston Rounds around, they are east to find online or at a health food store, or use any other bottle you have on hand. Unlike other tinctures I make and use, I don’t use a glass dropper with the elixirs. I prefer to pour it right out of the bottle, as the glass droppers can get gunky with the honey.

The honey often settles on the bottle, so I make sure to shake it well before each use. I have a penchant for raw honey, which is even more solid. It produces a slightly creamy elixir, while a thinner honey makes more of a syrup. The raw honey has more of the possibility to crystallize on the bottom. If this happens, I warm up the bottle and it becomes liquified once again.

Elixirs can be made with all sorts of herbs. Lavender, chamomile,  holy basil, fennel, tangerine peel, elderberry, hibiscus, even rooty herbs like dandelion or burdock…the list goes on and on. I sell them in my Etsy shop from time to time, and people are always pleased at the tastiness and ease of use. They are easy homemade gifts for the home remedy appreciator or drink master.

/    /    What sort of herbal extracts do you like or are excited to try?   /    /


About Celia

I live in Portland, OR in a orange stucco apartment building surrounded by wild gardens. I love plants, yoga, going for walks, the Oregon wilderness, photography, gardening, herbal tea and creating. My Etsy shop is KyraBotanica, where I sell handmade herbal tea and natural body care products and fragrances.

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