Rose Petal Cordial Recipe


Having discussed how cool the evenings were only last week, we're now experiencing a heatwave in the UK. So suddenly there are elderflowers everywhere for Elderflower Cordial and Elderflower Champagne and my personal favourite which is Elderflower Lemon Curd. Plus there are wild roses all over the place, perfect for this Rose Petal Cordial Recipe.

At the weekend, on a whim, we drove over to Newhaven to visit Denton Church in which my Great Grandparents were married. 

Denton Parish Church, East Sussex

On the way I had a quick look at my family tree on my phone, and noticed my Great Grandparents were married yesterday, albeit 104 years previously. I had absolutely no idea. In the past such a realisation would have shocked me, now I just smile and keep going because such coincidences happen all the time when I decide to do these things. It is as though those our ancestors call us to them. Or something.

Anyway we went to Denton Church which was unfortunately closed, but we were able to see inside through the windows to view the Denton Church War Memorial on which my Great Grand Uncle is mentioned. He sadly died at sea in WW1 and his body was never recovered.

WW1 memorial in Denton Church, East Sussex

We then went over to Denton Island. Now an industrial estate, it was where the Denton Islanders lived back in the day, including my Great Grandmother, her siblings and my Great Grandparents. We looked at the map and worked out we were standing close to where their homes in The Huts and Sefton Road once stood.

Sefton Terrace Denton Island Newhaven

This image is of Sefton Terrace, Denton Island, Newhaven, East Sussex. My Great Great Grandparents lived here. Image courtesy of, a website project run by volunteers.

Close to where we were standing were bushes of elderflowers and a hedge smothered in dog roses. So we just had to.

Dog Rose for Rose Petal Cordial

You will find Dog Roses a-plenty in May and June around the English countryside, and in the South of England in particular. It was 30 degrees on Saturday, so we picked the petals and put them in a cool bag with a couple of cold bricks (the blue bits you can just about see). That worked brilliantly as they stayed fresh as the moment they were picked until the evening when I got around to starting the Rose Petal Cordial.

Rose Petal Cordial Recipe

We were careful to pick the pinkest petals so the cordial would be pink, and to leave plenty of roses to turn to rosehips later in the year. So there will be flowers left for the insects to feast upon. It also means we can go back in September/October in the hope of finding ripe Rosehips for Denton Island Rosehip Syrup.

At some point in all of this we also popped into Chris Lewis' Ceramics Studio in South Heighton and acquired two handmade mugs to remind us of our visit. They are nothing short of stunning and, I can confirm, a handmade mug makes every drink taste better.

Mugs from Chris Lewis Ceramics, South Heighton

So all in all, a great afternoon. I hope Great Grandma Flossie is pleased, though I think she might be a bit shocked to discover her ancestral home is now an industrial estate !

Great Grandmother Florence Richards

10 Tips for making Rose Petal Cordial

  1. This recipe is a traditional one. You make a sugar syrup then macerate the petals in it for 24 hours to extract the flavour, fragrance and colour.
  2. Be sure when you pick your petals that you will be able to start the cordial on the same day, before the petals go brown. If your petals are old it will affect the flavour and colour of your cordial.
  3. Try so far as possible to pick rose petals that haven't been treated with chemical sprays and are not located directly on the side of the road where there are traffic fumes.
  4. Keep the petals in as cold an environment if you can, such as an ice bag with ice bricks as I talk about above. This will keep the petals in good condition for as long as possible after you've picked them.
  5. Don't be tempted to leave the rose petals in the syrup for longer than about 24 hours for more rose cordial flavour. In fact the petals will just turn brown and it won't be very nice.
  6. Use unwaxed lemons for this recipe, as you will be peeling off the zest and putting it straight into the cordial mix.
  7. This recipe also calls for citric acid. Food Grade Citric Acid is widely available these days from supermarkets and chemists plus, of course, shops like us. It is in powder form and you add it to the sugar syrup.
  8. Make this Rose Petal Cordial Recipe in small batches over a period so that it doesn't go mouldy before you have chance to drink it. I like Swing Top Cordial Bottles with pretty preserving labels or tags with string so you remember what's inside. You can sterilise the bottles using a homebrewing cleaner-steriliser  or Milton to further extend the life of the cordial. I do this out of habit, simply because we always have VWP around the place.
  9. The Food Grade Citric Acid helps to preserve the cordial for 2-3 weeks in the fridge, maybe more. Sterilising your bottles will extend its life a little further. Unlike supermarket cordials however, this Rose Petal Cordial doesn't contain preservatives that will keep it good for ages. Hence suggesting you make it in small batches. If you want to make a large batch for freezing to drink in the winter, simply multiply the recipe. 
  10. This recipe will make around 650ml of Rose Petal Cordial. It is very pretty and makes a lovely gift. 


Rose Petal Cordial Recipe

Uses for Homemade Rose Petal Cordial

This stuff is delicious! Drizzle it over ice cream, stir it into yogurt. Add it to prosecco and cocktails. Simply dilute it with sparkling water with ice for the most delicious and refreshing drink. Or swig it out of the bottle and be proud that you made something so gorgeous and perfect. (Did I say that out loud?)

Rose Petal Cordial Recipe


Approximately 1-1.5 cups of tightly packed, freshly picked Rose Petals

240ml water

1 Unwaxed Lemon, washed

200g Granulated Sugar

15g Food Grade Citric Acid


You will also need

A large saucepan in which to make the sugar syrup.

A food grade bucket plus a lid or tea towel to cover the cordial for 24 hours.

Cheesecloth or butter muslin plus wooden pegs to attach the cloth to the bucket for straining.

A potato peeler and sharp knife to prepare the lemon.

Cordial bottles, ideally sterilised (see above).

A funnel for bottling your cordial.



If any rose petals are still attached to a green part of the plant, remove them. Discard anything that isn't petals, along with any damaged petals. Ensure no insects are left on the petals.

Peel the zest off the lemon in strips with the potato peeler, then cut the lemon up into thin slices.

Heat the water in the saucepan - it doesn't have to be boiling. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. 

Turn off the heat.

Add citric acid to the syrup and stir.

Put the rose petals, lemon zest and lemon slices into the bucket.

When the sugar syrup is cool enough not to melt the bucket, pour it over the rose petals and lemon zest and slices. Stir.

Cover loosely with a lid or clean tea towel and leave for 24 hours.

Peg the cloth to the bucket and strain the cordial through it.

Bottle in sterile bottles to prolong the life and enjoy!

Keeps in the fridge for around 3 weeks.


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