Orange flower water is a distillate of the flowers of the bitter (Seville) orange tree (Citrus aurantium). The flowers are picked and steam-distilled, then the resulting liquid is fractionated into orange flower water and the essential oil, which is called neroli and used in perfume-making. Orange flower water is typically used in Middle Eastern sweets, typically as part of a soaking syrup.
The history of orange flower water probably dates back to the 8th century Arab world, and was used to scent linens in 14th century Sicily. By the 16th century, it was being used as a flavorant, and was fairly widespread in Europe by the 17th century.
Orange flower water can be found (along with rosewater, which is made the same way) in larger supermarkets or Middle Eastern specialty stores. It is pale yellow and clear, with a sharp aroma that is green, citrus and soapy.
Some popular cocktails containing Orange flower water
- Blond Adonis — Cream Sherry, Manzanilla sherry, Mezcal, Pineapple Gum Syrup, Orange flower water
- Sunset in the Garden — Gin, Aperol, Aromatized wine, Triple sec, Lemon juice, Orange flower water, Orange cream citrate, Orange peel
- One Flight Up — Pisco, Bianco Vermouth, Campari, Bitters, Simple syrup, Egg white, Soda water, Lemon juice, Orange flower water, Lemon peel, Orange peel
- Ramos Gin Fizz — Old Tom Gin, Simple syrup, Cream, Egg white, Lemon juice, Lime juice, Soda water, Orange flower water, Vanilla extract
- Rude Boy — Jamaican rum, Santa Maria al Monte, Lime juice, Simple syrup, Orange flower water
- Downfall — Gin, Dark Crème de Cacao, Lemon bitters, Grapefruit juice, Mint syrup, Saffron bitters, Orange flower water
- Berry Dangerous Fix — Aquavit, Campari, Strawberry, Lemon juice, Cane syrup, Orange flower water
- João Gilberto — Averna, Dry vermouth, Cinnamon Schnapps liqueur, Bitters, Spanish Brandy, Orange flower water
- Mid-Morning Fizz — Gin, Herbal liqueur, Lemon juice, Egg white, Club soda, Simple syrup, Orange flower water
- English Basillica — Gin, Aromatized wine, Lime juice, Egg white, Simple syrup, Basil, Orange flower water