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 into it.

Garnish with Satsuma peel.

Nothing stirs memory like scent, and the aroma of the sweet olive tree in bloom is intoxicating. They 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 whenever they were in bloom.

It is one of the things I most miss 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 checked first to ensure that they were edible and found that the Chinese sometimes use them for tea. While the tea seemed difficult to find, I was pleasantly surprised to find a company in Halethorpe, Maryland, Silver Cloud Estates, producing an extract. When my order arrived, I began to experiment.

Using the extract, even a small amount, directly in the cocktail was overwhelming. I’m sure this would be less of an issue with the tea, but I was determined to make use of what I had. In the end, I found that simply spritzing a coupe with the extract before chilling it, then dumping the ice water was sufficient to impart the aroma I so pined for.

My first instinct for a spirit to mix with it was gin, and I’ve decided to temper it with Lillet Blanc, as I felt it’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 traditional citrus fruit grown by Louisiana homeowners.

Photo by Susan Whitney.

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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