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Rooh Afza: My New Favorite Bar Ingredient

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When I need some kitchen or bar inspiration, one of my favorite things to do is head to an international grocery store. With such a dazzling array of unusual ingredients at my beck and call, I'm sure to find something to kick myself out of whatever rut I might be in.

One particular ingredient that I recently found is Rooh Afza. It's a beverage syrup that comes from India and Pakistan. The flavor is distinctly floral, specifically a very sweet rose flavor.

The traditional preparation (at least, according to the bottle) is to mix it with milk. For much of the summer, I've been content to mix it with sparkling water to make a delicious (if somewhat unusual) soda flavor.

On a recent restocking run, a nice lady spied the bottle in my cart and asked where in the store I found it. After I told her the location, we chatted a bit about how we enjoy it. She told me that she loves it with tequila.

Well, of course. How the hell didn't I think of that?

It turns out that the two indeed go together pretty nicely. Blanco tequila's green notes accent Rooh Afza's floral nature. Since there's tequila involved, it's only natural to add some lime. While we're at it, let's throw in a little triple sec and make a rose-flavored margarita!

Since Rooh Afza is a sweet syrup, I like to cut back a little on the triple sec (but not too much), and add an extra hit of lime juice. It's wise to be careful with the amount of Rooh Afza. Get too much in there, and it will go from a pleasant cocktail to tasting like you're drinking old ladies' perfume.

Rose Margarita 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice 1/2 ounce Rooh Afza syrup 3/4 ounce triple sec 1-1/2 ounces blanco tequila

Shake together with ice. Strain over fresh ice into a salt-rimmed glass.

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