Royal Street in Bloom

Photo by Susan Whitney.

Royal Street in Bloom


1 oz gin [I used Green Hat’s Spring/Summer  yellow label]
1.5 oz Lillet Blanc
Juice of one satsuma [or half of a juicing orange], strained
1 drop of osmanthus extract [or 1 spritz from an atomizer]

Spritz coupe with osmanthus extract or place one drop in the glass, then add ice and water to chill. Shake remaining ingredients with ice. Dump ice water from coupe and strain cocktail into it.

Garnish with Satsuma twist.

Nothing stirs memory like scent, and the aroma of the sweet olive tree in bloom is intoxicating. The blossoms smell like a mixture of orange blossoms and ripe apricots, and during my time in New Orleans, I drank in the smell while strolling down Royal Street.

It is one of the things I miss most about the city. This is my attempt to bring it back in a cocktail. Osmanthus fragrans is the scientific name of the sweet olive tree. I check first to ensure that the blossoms are edible and find that the Chinese sometimes use them for tea. While the tea is difficult to find, I’m pleasantly surprised to find a company in Halethorpe, Maryland – Silver Cloud Estates – producing an extract. When my order arrives, I begin to experiment.

The extract is potent and even a drop or two shaken into the cocktail is overwhelming. I’m sure this would be less of an issue with the tea, but I’m determined to make use of what I have. In the end, I find that simply spritzing a coupe before chilling it with ice water imparts the aroma I pine for.

I decide to build the cocktail around gin and its sometimes paramour Lillet Blanc, as the latter’s light, citrusy character enhances the sweet olive smell. Finally, to drive home the New Orleans connection, I’ve paired it with the juice of one satsuma, the citrus fruit traditionally grown by Louisiana homeowners.

Photo by Susan Whitney.

Plan in place, I spritz a coupe with extract and fill it with ice & cold water. Next, I pour one ounce of Green Hat’s Spring/Summer gin, one-and-a-half ounces of Lillet Blanc, and the strained juice of one satsuma into a shaker. I fill the shaker with ice, then shake it until frost begins to form on its surface. Finally, I dump the ice water from the coupe, strain the cocktail in, garnish with the satsuma twist and sip.

The aroma takes me back to languid walks to work peppered with shameless pastels,  serenaded by bicycle bells jangled by bumpy streets, and pregnant with the promise of simple, but intense, pleasures. So, please join me on a walk down my memory lane, mix up a Royal Street in Bloom, and laissez les bon temp rouler.




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