Financial Times

It’s cocktail hour – so put a flower in it

Why floral garnishes will grow on you

Petersham Nurseries sells an edible flower seed collection including cornflowers, marigolds and heartsease (£15, in store only). “Growing your own is often the best way to go, especially if you want some of the more short-lived, quick-cropping annuals like cornflowers,” says director of horticulture Thomas Broom-Hughes. “Then you can also be sure they are unsprayed and pesticide-free.”

For a big hit of perfume, he suggests scented pelargoniums, “especially Attar of Roses, which has a wonderful Turkish delight scent. Clove pinks also have a lovely spicy note.” If you like it a bit less blousy, herb flowers can also be good, he says: “Thyme flowers are great in a Mint Julep. Basil flowers would bring a nice spiciness to a strawberry Daiquiri.”

Always pick blooms in the early morning or evening when the flowers are at their most potent, he says, “and pick a whole stem, rather than just the head of the flower as this will help the plant to regenerate flowers quicker.”

Lavender is a great pairing with juniper – try adding a sprig to a G&T (but no more or its resinous, floral scent can risk overpowering everything). Shocking red, yellow and orange nasturtiums add a wonderful pop of colour. Highly scented flowers like lavender or geranium can also be used to make flavoured sugar syrups for mixing in drinks – you’ll find some tips on flavouring syrups in my book The Cocktail Edit (Quadrille).

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