See how to make rose milk! Dreamy and delicious, rose milk is blended with milk, agave syrup, and rose essence and makes for an elegant and refreshing summer drink. This easy floral milk recipe is made with natural ingredients and free of artificial flavors and colorants.
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Homemade rose milk
When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time at my aunt Mary-Louise’s. She had the most extraordinary rose garden, full of fragrant English heirloom roses and David Austin varieties, where we spent many summer afternoons.
On hot days, Mary-Louise sometimes made a luscious rose milk drink with milk, honey, a drop of food color, and a splash of rose essence. She called it rose milkshake.
A pink drink that tastes like roses? Of course, I was completely obsessed.
Today, I’m excited to share her recipe with you! Homemade rose milk is a super simple milk drink that requires just 4 ingredients and 5 minutes prep. It’s refreshing and delicious and has a unique floral aroma, a welcome change from other summer beverages.
What is rose milk?
Rose milk is a non-alcoholic rose-flavored milk drink. It’s made with chilled milk, rose essence, rose water, or rose syrup and often contains food color to give it a pink hue.
When I researched this recipe, I found out that rose milk is a traditional drink in India. Indian rose milk is often prepared with rose syrup, aka rose milk syrup.
To understand its significance and history, read this insightful article about rose milk in Chennai by Apoorva Sripathi. And for authentic Indian recipes, try the rose milk recipes from Pavani’s Kitchen, Rak’s Kitchen, and Revi’s Foodography.
I love and admire Indian heritage. My rose milk recipe is in no way meant to appropriate this wonderful culture; I simply want to share my family’s recipe.
What does rose milk taste like?
Rose milk has a slightly sweet floral flavor and tastes exactly what it sounds like – milky with a distinctive rose note.
Is rose milk the same as rose milk tea?
No, rose milk and rose milk tea are two different types of drinks. Rose milk is a cold refreshment (think rose milkshake). Whereas rose milk tea is a hot beverage where rose petals are steeped in hot water and then served with milk.
Rose milk benefits
Roses have many potential benefits for your health and wellbeing. Their sweet smell is incredibly calming + relaxing and said to enhance the mood.
Rose milk ingredients
- Milk: You can prepare this rose drink with your favorite unsweetened milk. Full fat or skim work well. And if you’re dairy-free, use almond milk or oat milk.
- Rose essence lends the drink its characteristic rosy flavor. I recommend the rose extract from Angel Bake. It’s made from Bulgarian roses, 100% natural, and has an authentic rose taste. This more affordable rose essence has also received rave reviews, but I haven’t tried it personally.
- Light agave nectar provides the perfect natural sweetness to the rose milk recipe. You can swap in honey or simple syrup if you prefer. For a sugar-free version, see the FAQ section.
- Pink pitaya powder (optional) lends the drink a soft pink color. You could also use beet root powder or regular food colors. Up to you!
How to make rose milk
You can make this rose milk recipe with rose essence or rose syrup. I’ll show you how to make rose syrup from scratch at the end of this post. Here is the uber-easy version with rose extract:
Step 1: Mix
- Add the milk, rose essence, light agave syrup, and pink pitaya powder (if using) into a large measuring cup or a pitcher.
- Whisk until the ingredients are well combined, the agave syrup has dissolved, and you no longer see large clumps of dragon fruit powder. There still might be a few specks of fruit powder, which is fine and looks pretty, too.
Step 2: Serve
- Pour the pink milk drink into a glass and serve chilled.
- Optionally decorate with a sprinkle of rose petals.
Rose milkshake variations
The taste of roses combines beautifully with other aromas such as vanilla or strawberry. For a fun twist, try these variations!
- Vanilla: Prepare the recipe as instructed and swirl in a 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract or the scrapes of 1/2 fresh vanilla bean.
- Strawberry: Add the rose milk ingredients + 3 ripe strawberries into a blender and puree.
- Raspberry: Follow the instructions for strawberry rose milk but sub the strawberries with 10 fresh raspberries.
- Chocolate: Add 1 cup milk + 1 tbsp milk/semisweet chocolate chips + 1 tbsp agave syrup in a small saucepan. Warm over low flame until the chocolate has melted. Take off the heat and stir in the rose extract. Delicious!
Do you serve rose milk hot, cold, or iced?
You can serve this rose-flavored drink warm, cold, or over ice for an extra refreshing effect. In India, rose milk is a summer drink and usually served cold.
But I suppose you can gently heat the milk on the stovetop if you prefer a warming drink. Be sure to add the rose essence after warming the milk, or it will lose some of its aroma.
What is rose essence?
Rose essence, or rose extract, is a clear liquid that smells and tastes like roses. It’s a byproduct of steam distilling rose petals when making rose essential oil.
What’s the difference between rose water and rose essence?
Although similar, rose essence and rose water are 2 different products. Rose essence is much more concentrated than rose water
Can I make this recipe with rose water?
Yes, but rose water is less aromatic than rose essence, so you need to incorporate more, about 1 1/2 to 3 tablespoons. I have an easy DIY rose water recipe that is suitable for making drinks.
Can I make sugar-free rose milk?
Absolutely! To make a low-carb keto rose milk, prepare the recipe with almond milk and sweeten the drink with sugar-free simple syrup. This syrup is made with allulose and monk fruit. It doesn’t have a bitter aftertaste of grainy texture like some erythritol-based sweeteners do.
Can I make vegan rose milk?
Of course! Grab your favorite non-dairy milk and plant-based syrup and whip up a batch. Since rose essence is a delicate aroma, I recommend sticking to plant milks that are light in flavor, like almond milk or oat milk. The same goes for the sweetener. I find agave syrup is a good choice.
Can you make rose milk boba?
Definitely! This is what you do (makes 1 serving):
- To make the boba, bring 6 cups of water to a rolling boil over high heat.
- Add 1/3 cup tapioca pearls and stir until the boba floats on the surface.
- Reduce the heat and cook for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Take off the heat and let sit for another 20 minutes.
- Drain the pearls.
- Place the tapioca pearls into a tall glass and top off with the rose milk.
- Serve with a wide straw and enjoy!
If you have leftovers or want to create a large batch ahead of time, just transfer the drink into an airtight container or pitcher with a lid. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
The milk drink is delicate and will absorb flavors from other foods. To avoid a funky taste, be sure to keep your rose milk recipe airtight and sealed.
Rose milk syrup
As I mentioned earlier, Indian rose milk is usually prepared with rose syrup. In case you prefer this version, try my simple rose syrup recipe.
Rose syrup ingredients
To make rose syrup, you’ll need the following ingredients (yields 1 cup):
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup dried rose petals
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
How to make rose syrup
- Add the water, sugar, and rose petals into a heavy bottom saucepan.
- Cover with a lid and simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes.
- Strain the liquid through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and discard the rose petals.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks
Rose milk with rose syrup
To make the milk with rose syrup, combine 1 cup milk with 1 to 2 tbsp rose syrup. Easy!