Finland is celebrating Midsummer this weekend. Midsummer marks the longest day of the year (officially the 21st of June) and here at the Arctic Circle the sun doesn’t set at all. This important holiday turns Finnish cities into ghost towns as everyone travels to the countryside to enjoy life at their summer cottages. Our midsummer traditions typically include wood-heated sauna, swimming and barbecue throughout the night, and a large midsummer bonfire at midnight. Midsummer magic is still an essential part of the Summer Solstice celebration as well.
The Finnish midsummer rose, Rosa spinosissima/Rosa pimpinellifolia, is a traditional white rose species that can be found especially on old courtyards. This rose with small white flowers blooms around Midsummer, hence the name. Inspired by the midsummer roses on the yard of our summer house, I decided to make a syrup to use in a cocktail tonight. Daiquiris are traditionally made of white rum, lime juice and sugar syrup. To give this classic cocktail a midsummer twist, I replaced the sugar with rose syrup.
using roses in the kitchen
Finnish Midsummer roses produce a light colored syrup. Different rose species produce different colored (and flavored) results, so feel free to try around with the rose species that you have available. Roses are not poisonous, and any rose petals can be used for this recipe for as long as the rose has been growing in a clean area and the leaves have not been treated with any chemicals. Traditionally, rose hips have been turned into Rose Hip Jam (ruusunmarjahillo) in the autumn, while rose petals have not been very commonly used.
Rose is a very versatile ingredient in the kitchen, and its lovely scent is not its only benefit. Rose hips contain a high amount of vitamin C and Beta Carotene, and they have traditionally been used to help people get over spring fatigue. Rose petals contain a high amount of antioxidants and scent has an anxiety relieving effect. You can use this rose syrup to give a rosy flavor to baked goods and beverages. I’m going to try adding it to dry sparkling wine and panna cotta as well. Here is my Rose Daiquiri Recipe for this year’s Midsummer celebration.
Midsummer Rose Daiquiris
4,5 cl Light rum
2.5 cl Lime juice
2 cl Rose Syrup (see the recipe below)
Pour all ingredients into an ice-filled cocktail shaker.
Shake well and pour the drink into a cooled cocktail glass.