Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Rose milk for my Valentine

Lindor truffles and Rose milk-our sweet indulgences Posted by Picasa

Love is in the air and roses symbolize it perfectly. Any culinary creation with roses is romantic. We are celebrating this year with some rose milk.

Rose milk is a famous drink in South India. Most south Indian restaurants or hotels in the pre-cola era (which is less than a decade ago) served this and some still do. In the summer months (which is always!), it is a cool treat. The dark pink hued drink is almost as popular as 'filter coffee'. Alas, today in India, these good, cold drinks and juices have all been replaced with Fanta, Coke, Pepsi and even Mountain Dew.

I like to make the rose syrup at home or better yet, get my mom to make it whenever she visits us. There are commercial rose sherbet such as Roohafza and the like readily available at all Indian grocery stores. But these products have an aftertaste of chemicals and I believe they also contain 'kewra extract' that overpowers the rose flavor.

Rose syrup

2 cups sugar
1.5 cups water
1 T lemon juice
1/4 cup rose water or 2 tsp rose extract
(Rose extract may contain artifical flavors. So use natural rose water, as far as possible).
4-6 drops of red food coloring or pomegranate juice

Stir together the sugar, water and lemon juice in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes, until the syrup coats a cold spoon. You should be able to draw a line on the coated spoon. Add the pomegranate juice or food coloring and stir well. You should have a dark red color. Remove from the heat and stir in the rosewater or extract. Let the syrup cool completely and store in a clean Mason jar. This makes 2-3 cups of syrup.

To 8 oz milk, start with addition of 2 T of syrup and add more, for a stronger flavor or sweetness. Serve cold with lots of ice.

The food color may make you flinch. But the drink has to be literally rose-colored. Otherwise, it is not much fun, is it? I added only 2 drops of FDA approved red color since I wanted to introduce my daughter with this new flavor. So my version is quite light-colored. You can forego the color altogether, it is up to you or use Pom as a coloring agent.

Happy Valentines day, everyone!


  1. Rose - perfect color for valentines day. How sweet!

    Roohafza, do your remember the ad saying roo...hafza. I often stock up those bottles. One of my bad habit.:)

  2. mmm nostalgia inducing :)

  3. I remember my sister used to have rose milk at night before going to bed. She is still crazy about Roohafza. I serve this as a base for Falooda. Thanks for reminding me of my childhood days.

  4. Rose always reminds me of "falooda"...your version looks delicious!

  5. wow...that looks yummy, always had something for cool drinks, this looks perfect, thanks. by the way, nice blog. :)
    - Aaina. (www.aainaism.com)

  6. You have only had cola in the South for less than half a decade???? Im from the north and i remember my dad telling me about his coke/pepsi indulgences from his childhood days (he is in his mid fifty's). Nice drink tho. Just to set the record straight, roohafza is different than rose syrup.

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