Homemade rose syrup – the Dalmatian way

The roses are in bloom early this year, so I thought I’d get started on the rose syrup. It seems a shame to waste all those fragrant petals! I’ve made it for the past couple of years and I love adding it to summer desserts, and making rose cordial on a hot afternoon. In Dalmatia, you’ll more likely find it as a liqueur known as ružolin, with the addition of some homemade spirits. Dvor Duboković’s rose liqueur is exquisite, and it’s their method that I follow. Although from some distance back in terms of expertise, it has to be said!

Roses in bloom

Roses in bloom

I’ve given the rose liqueur recipe in a previous blog, but let’s just summarise here: Layer rose petals and sugar in a jar. Sit in sunshine for 40 days. Keep topping up the layers. Strain, add rakija to taste and bottle. Drink!

Bowlful of roses

Freshly harvested roses

Sounds really easy, no? My experience over the last couple of years now tells me that I don’t wash the petals, that I have to put the jars on a stone surface that will also warm the mixture from underneath. The petals will gradually ferment in the sugar and sink down, so more layers can be added. Discard the centre of the rose, as it’s not going to contribute anything.

Layered petals and sugar

Layered petals and sugar

I use conserving jars, that can be closed tight to keep out any unwanted bugs. These jars will also be good to store the syrup in, once its ready to use. On this first day, the rose petals take up a lot of space and I have to keep pushing them down as I add my layers. I’ve chosen to use only darker pink roses this year, to see if I can achieve a better colour for the final syrup. We’ll see!

Two jars ready for sunshine!

Stage 1 complete: two jars ready for sunshine!

Here’s a link to the Dvor Duboković website for a photo of their jars of ružolin in process: dvordubokovic.hr/en/our-produce