August is National Romance Month, and there’s nothing more romantic than a gorgeous bouquet of roses. After all, the rose has been a symbol of love and beauty since ancient times. But while there isn’t anyone who doesn’t absolutely love getting a bouquet of roses, there are many other ways—incredibly romantic ways—to shower that special someone with roses that don’t involve a bouquet or perfect vase.
We’ve collected our 7 favorite creative and romantic ways to give roses (other than our number one favorite: in a bouquet or vase), and posted them here to inspire you and get your creative flower-giving juices flowing this month.
(Note: There are some rose recipes here that are meant to be eaten. For these, it is important to use rose petals that have not been exposed to pesticides or other chemicals. In these cases, buying food grade roses, and thoroughly washing any rose petals before using, is highly recommended.)
1. Homemade Rose Oil
In addition to their beauty, roses have been used for centuries for their therapeutic properties and in aromatherapy. Many luxury beauty products and cosmetics contain rose oil, and while it’s very expensive to buy, you can make your own at home. Homemade rose oil is truly wonderful because you can use it in so many ways, and for many other gifts. (And we’ll show you some.) Here’s how to make homemade rose oil:
To Make Homemade Rose Oil:
Place a few inches of water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove the saucepan from the heat.
Choose a “carrier” oil that doesn’t have a strong flavor or scent that can overpower the rose. Jojoba oil is recommended for its ability to capture and hold the rose scent longer than other oils. Grapeseed oil is another good choice, and a very light olive oil works well too. Some people like to use almond oil because of its own therapeutic properties and the complementary scent to rose.
Place the oil into a large, clean glass jar with a lid. Place the jar in the hot water.
Rinse a cup or so of fresh rose petals under cool water. Crush or bruise the petals in a glass bowl with a pestle or the back of a spoon and place them in the warm oil. Gently stir the petals in the oil to coat them and start the release of rose oil. Cover the jar.
When the water in the saucepan is cool, remove the jar and move it to a warm place, like a windowsill or terrace.
Let the petals infuse the oil for at least 24 hours, and up to 7 days. Leaving the petals in longer will extract more rose oil.
Using a cheesecloth or a fine mesh sieve, strain the oil into a clean jar, pressing the petals as you go to extract as much oil as you can. You may want to repeat this step to make sure you get all the rose petal material out of the oil.
To get a stronger, more fragrant oil, you can repeat steps 1-7 with fresh petals up to 5 or 6 times to get the desired level of scent.
Pour the finished oil into a dark bottle or store out of direct sunlight, to help keep the oil longer.
Use it for: Rose Scented Massage Oil
It doesn’t get any more romantic than offering a massage with rose scented massage oil you made yourself. You can mix in a small amount of Vitamin E oil, add it to store-bought unscented massage oil, or to her favorite unscented body lotion. (Romantic Bonus: Save some rose petals to spread on the massage table.)
2. Rose Petal Potpourri
When that treasured bouquet begins to droop, don’t just toss it out, give those petals extra life by using them to make potpourri. You’ll be able to keep roses from a special moment, or you can place it in sachets to add a wonderful rose scent wherever you like. There are many ways to make potpourri, but here is our favorite.
Rose Potpourri Recipe:
Dry the petals before they begin to turn. Hang roses upside down in a cool dry dark place for a week.
Remove petals and place in a glass jar.
Add complimentary ingredients for visual interest, like cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, dried citrus peel (use a veggie peeler to make your own), dried lavender and vanilla beans.
Add a few drops of your homemade rose oil
Optional: Add a fixative to help keep the scent longer: powdered orris root, oak moss, cellulose, ground gum benzoin or a product like fiberfix can be found online or in nature stores.
Stir to mix the ingredients, seal the jar and let sit for 10 days or so, shaking every couple of days.
Place your new potpourri in a decorative bowl or into cloth sachets to enjoy for months to come.
3. Homemade Rose Water
Rose water is perfect for sprinkling onto sheets to add a sensual scent to your evening, as a face toner to bring relief to tired skin, or even to add a floral flavor to cakes and cookies. There are several ways to make rose water, and this is one of the simplest. The homemade variety only lasts a few weeks, so be sure to use it quickly.
Simple Rose Water Recipe
Place two handfuls of fresh, clean rose petals in a pot. (Rinse with cool water first.)
Add just enough distilled water to cover the petals.
Cover the pot with a lid and bring the water to a gentle boil.
Simmer the petals until they begin to discolor.
Remove the pot from the heat, let the water cool slightly, and strain the liquid into a glass jar.
Keep the jar covered and in a cool dry place.
Use it for: Rose Petal Tea
Looking for something truly unique to accompany the delicious pastries you got for dessert? Add a little sugar or honey to your rose water to make a wonderfully fragrant tea. Toss in a few fresh raspberries and now you have a refreshing and beautiful floral-berry tea.
4. In a Romantic Dinner Dish
Many flowers don’t just look fantastic on the table during dinner, they actually look and taste fantastic on the plate as well. A wide variety of flowers have edible petals, and the rose is one of them. Drop in a few petals to add a colorful and fragrant pop to a salad, place them on cookies and cupcakes as a surprising decoration, or use them as an awesome fruit salad garnish. You can even make a simple and delicious rose petal jam to have the morning after your romantic evening.
5. Rose Cocktails
Spice up your night by adding a rosy twist to your evening cocktails. You can simply drop a few edible rose petals into a glass of champagne, or for a more exciting rose experience, mix up a Rosie Lee, a delicious, exotic drink made with gin, lychee and an easy-to-make homemade rose syrup.
Rosie Lee Cocktail
1 1/2 oz Gin
1/2 oz Rose Petal Syrup*
1 oz Lychee juice
1/2 oz Fresh lemon juice
1 dash Angostura Bitters
Add all the ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake, and strain into a teacup filled with fresh ice. Garnish with a lemon wedge or an orange wheel.
*For the Rose Petal Syrup: Infuse 1 cup of simple syrup (one part sugar, one part water) with a handful of rose petals for 48 hours. Strain before using.
6. A Luxurious, Relaxing Rose Petal Bath
Want to help her soothe away a tough day, and score big romance points at the same time? Remove the petals from several roses and float them in a hot bath. You can even use several different colored roses. Add a few drops of your homemade rose oil or rose water, light some candles, and fill the room with soft music for a romantic, relaxing, rejuvenating bath she’ll never forget.
7. Homemade Rose Petal Paper Card
Nothing is more romantic than a handmade card telling that special someone how much they mean to you—except maybe a handmade card crafted from handmade rose petal paper! This one requires a little more effort, but it’s so very worth it. If you’ve got some time on your hands and you’re feeling especially crafty (or can enlist the help of a crafty friend), use your favorite handmade paper recipe and add several rose petals and leaves to the mix. (Along with a spray of rose oil once the paper dries to give it a “fresh from the garden” scent.) You’ll have a one-of-a-kind card they’ll cherish forever.
Inspired? Now it’s time to grab some roses (tip: since August is “National Romance Month” you’re sure to find some incredible deals), and lavish your special someone in creative and romantic ways they’ll never forget.