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
  • Not Coming Home — Bianco Vermouth, Absinthe, Elderflower liqueur, Orange flower water, Grapefruit peel
  • One Flight Up — Pisco, Bianco Vermouth, Campari, Bitters, Simple syrup, Soda water, Lemon juice, Egg white, Orange flower water, Lemon peel, Orange peel
  • Sunset in the Garden — Gin, Aperol, Aromatized wine, Triple sec, Lemon juice, Orange flower water, Orange cream citrate, Orange peel
  • Downfall — Gin, Dark Crème de Cacao, Lemon bitters, Grapefruit juice, Mint syrup, Saffron bitters, Orange flower water
  • Ramos Gin Fizz — Old Tom Gin, Simple syrup, Cream, Egg white, Lemon juice, Lime juice, Soda water, Orange flower water, Vanilla extract
  • Berry Dangerous Fix — Aquavit, Campari, Strawberry, Lemon juice, Cane syrup, Orange flower water
  • Akoya — Japanese Whisky, Sloe gin, Suze, Bitters, Pine liqueur, Orange flower water
  • Rude Boy — Jamaican rum, Santa Maria al Monte, Lime juice, Simple syrup, Orange flower water
  • Mid-Morning Fizz — Gin, Herbal liqueur, Lemon juice, Club soda, Simple syrup, Egg white, Orange flower water