ROSE LIQUEUR (Rosoliu/Liquore di rose)


I am partial to a cup of rose flavoured tea, add rose water in some of my cooking and I particularly like my Sirop de roses (Rose syrup, mine is made in Lebanon) which I sometimes use to give a pink tinge and rose flavour to some of my desserts: home made ice creams, panna cotta, stewed fruit compotes (especially rhubarb or figs, or pears) or fresh fruit salads.

The Old Foodie has been writing about rosewater again this week and this has reminded me about a recipe for making a rose flavoured liqueur.

I too am a lover of rose flavoured foods.

Rosolio di rose (Rosoliu in Sicilian) dates back to the 15th century and was a popular cordial, originally made from rose petals. By the 18th century it had progressively became an alcoholic drink and lemon become more favoured over rose as flavouring. The pink colour was likely to have been enhanced with cochineal.Many of the ancient Sicilian recipes use rosoliu as the generic name for liqueur, several of which are made with oranges, mandarins or lemons and some are sometimes flavoured and coloured with a little saffron.

There are recipes for making Liquore Di Rose (Rose Liqueur) – this has been popular in other parts of Italy and in other countries. Some of the recipes include other flavourings for example lemon peel, cloves or orange blossoms.

My zia Niluzza (who lives in Ragusa, Sicily) gave me this recipe for Rosoliu, a long time ago.

For extra flavour I use ½ cup of rose water (as part of the 2 cups of water) and a dash of rose syrup (coloured pink and it is sweet, therefore reduce the amount of sugar and a little cochineal. I will need to wait for a generous friend and the right season before I make my next batch, but I have thought about adding a little grated beetroot with the petals rather than using cochineal.

4 cups of rose petals from a highly scented rose (I used a black rose for mine)
2 cups very strong vodka or grappa (we cannot buy 95° spirit in Australia as they do in Italy)
2 cups sugar
2 cups of water
Place rose petals a clean jar, add alcohol, close and keep in a cool dark place for at least 2 weeks.
Prepare the sugar syrup: boil water and sugar. Cool.
Filter the alcohol mixture and add syrup. Keep it for least 3 months before using.
Glass of filtered  Rosoliu, bottle of Sirop de roses and the jar I use to make the Rosoliu.


In some recipes the petals are left in the alcohol/syrup mixture and then strained at the time of serving. I left some petals in my last batch of rose liqueur and the petals partly dissolve and this is why you may notice a layer of sediment in the jar in the photo.

This is not the only liqueur I make. See my recipe for making Alchermes (or Alkermes) that I use to make the famous Italian dessert Zuppa Inglese.

ALCHERMES/ALKERMES (The liqueur used to make Zuppa Inglese)


15 thoughts on “ROSE LIQUEUR (Rosoliu/Liquore di rose)”

  1. I bought some rose liquor from Sence a couple of months ago, they also do a rose wine and nectar. Yours sounds so lovely, I’ll have to try it at home. I’ll be posting about my experiments using to make a parfait soon. Yummm…

    1. Sounds good. In stores that sell Middle Eastern produce i sometimes buy the Rose Syrup. This is very sweet and very pink and sometimes I have added some of this to the home made rose liqueur to enhance the flavours, especially if mine lacks colour or to enhance the taste. So much of the flavour in the vodka depends on the quality and quantity of the rose petals.

    1. I didn’t cover the rose petals completely and now the ones that were just wet a not soaking in the vodka look moldy. Should I start again?

      1. Unfortunately, because it is moldy, you will need to begin again.
        My vodka is 40%. The alcohol is the preservative and you will need to entirely cover the petals. The alcohol will not be wasted.
        I am sorry that you have wasted some vodka and time in the process.

  2. I do not know why I said strong!. I guess I was trying to equate it to the spirit( 75°- 95°) Italians can buy to make liqueurs.

    Vodka’s alcoholic content usually ranges between 35-50% by volume and many vodkas are 40% alcohol by volume (80 proof). I have just looked in my freezer and this is what mine is.

    Vodka that contains 50% vodka (100 Proof) is also fairly common in some parts of Europe and Russia. Apparently there is vodka of 20% (40 Proof) but I do not think that we have much of this in Australia. Some vodkas may contain as much as 95% alcohol (190 Proof) – apparently the Poles like it strong.

    My rose petals dissolved, I wonder if I used a stronger vodka if they would dissolve even more so, or keep their texture- I did not study enough chemistry to know this.

  3. I have followed your recipe to make a lovely rose petal liqueur but have been too impatient to wait 3 months before using it! I used predominantly pink fragrant rose petals from the ‘Lorraine Lee’ and ‘Cecile Brunner’ roses growing in my garden. I did however source a couple of fragrant red roses for added colour. I kept adding fresh rose petals to the vodka each day from the ‘Cecile Brunner’ rose which has the classic rose perfume. After a week I strained off the petals and started over with a fresh batch of petals, continuing to add more each day as they were produced by the rose bushes. After another week I filtered these and finished making the liqueur. This was only stored for another 2 weeks before I used it to make a rose petal cocktail based on one that my daughter had discovered in a bar in Cambodia. The cocktail is made with one measure of rose petal liqueur, one measure of lemon infused vodka (I added crushed lemon grass and lemon rind to the vodka, let it steep and then strained it), one measure of lychee juice (blend fresh or tinned lychees, which have had the syrup rinsed from them, and strain off the juice), half a measure of freshly squeezed lime juice. Thoroughly chill all ingredients. Shake together with ice, pour into a cocktail glass and float some rose petals on top. Very pretty and delicious with a kick!

  4. Is it okay to use dried rose petals? I have lots of dried wild rose petals that I collected in fall time.

    1. I am sorry, but I do not know how to answer this. if the petals have kept their perfume they should be OK, in fact, they may even be stronger in taste and scent.You could experiment and try a small quantity in a jar.

    2. You could try. I have never tried this… you are looking for colour, taste and perfume. A person called Kathleen has asked the same question… you could compare notes with her. She has posted on the blog.
      Good luck. If it does not work, do not throw away the vodka, use it for something else or try to flavour it with Rose Syrup, you can find this in shops that sell Middle Eastern produce.

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