The Washington Post

It Must Have Been the Roses

It Must Have Been the Roses 1.000

Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post

May 16, 2014

Named after one of his "favorite Grateful Dead slow jams," Julien-Pierre Bourgon strove to make "something light and floral – anything floral in the spring is great." As a base, he chose a Tazo tea with strong scents of lemon verbena, lemon balm, rose and valerian root, but balanced it with vodka and sparkling wine. "I wanted the lemon to be subtle," he says. "I didn't want the drink to taste like perfume." The final touch: a lemon-peel "rose," dipped in bitters, that "blooms" in the glass.

Make Ahead: The rose tea mix can be refrigerated in a glass container for up to 4 days.

Where to Buy: Gruet Blanc de Noir is available at Virginia ABC stores.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 1 servings

  • For the rose tea
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 Tazo Rest herbal teabags
  • For the drink
  • Juice of 2 lemon wedges
  • 1 ounce Tito's Handmade Vodka (see headnote)
  • 3 to 4 ounces chilled Gruet Blanc de Noir (see headnote; may substitute a dry sparkling wine)
  • 1 lemon peel rose dipped in Peychaud bitters, for garnish (see NOTE)


For the rose tea: Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the sugar, stirring until it has dissolved. Remove from the heat; add the teabags. Steep for 6 minutes, then discard the teabags. Transfer to a glass container to cool completely.

For the drink: Squeeze the juice of the lemon wedges into a shaker glass, then drop in the wedges.

Add the vodka and 1 1/2 ounces of the rose tea, then stir for about 20 seconds. Double-strain into a chilled small wineglass or a cocktail (martini) glass.

Top with Gruet Blanc de Noir (as needed). Drop in the lemon peel rose, which will unfurl, or "bloom," in the glass.

NOTE: Rinse 1 large lemon. Use a Y-shaped peeler to remove a continuous strip of peel that’s ¾ to 1 inch wide and about 9 inches long. Lay the strip flat, then roll it up like a sleeping bag; secure it with a toothpick. Dip the rose in a bowl filled with enough Peychaud bitters so the lemon peel rose is submerged. Let it soak for 10 to 15 seconds. Remove the toothpick before gently dropping the lemon peel rose into the drink.

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Recipe Source

From Julien-Pierre Bourgon, bartender at Bar TNT in Arlington and at PX in Alexandria.

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving: 180

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 0g 0%

Saturated Fat: 0g 0%

Cholesterol: 0mg 0%

Sodium: 0mg 0%

Total Carbohydrates: 13g 4%

Dietary Fiber: 0g 0%

Sugar: 10g

Protein: 0g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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