This is a type of geranium but unlike the common geranium which in my mind plain stinks, this has a delicate lemony scent. Some call it a rose scented herb. Another name for it is rose geranium. In Greece it is called abaroriza.
It grows like mad all during the heat of summer and even in the depths of winter is luscious and green. The snow this winter did it no harm. Mine was grown from a small cutting put straight into the soil.
The liqueur is very easy to make and has red wine as a base. I first tasted it after I bought a small bottle of homemade liqueur at a school bazaar. I immediately asked for the recipe from the mama on the stall.
Imagine drinking a small glass of this rose scented liqueur after a meal of kalamari, fries and tzatziki at a taverna beside the sea on a greek island (Olga's taverna, for those who know). This post is for Niki who is hunched down trying to get out of the photo. I hope she found the rose geranium in New Zealand.
I couldn't give her a cutting because NZ Customs and Immigration would have had the sniffer dogs onto her as she returned home. You cannot take into NZ any foods, plants, plant products, animal products or anything which might harm the flora and fauna of our isolated island nation. Australia is the same. They appear quite fierce in fact as you nervously enter their country, walking through with your suitcases. You get severely scrutinised, all over. Don't take a risk. Even crumbs and a stray sesame seed go in the bins provided, before you reach the official check point.
My pelargonia plant. The tall grandson cut it back severely a month ago and it is growing all over the place again.
1 1/2 litres red wine*
400 grams sugar
40 leaves from the rose pelargonium with or without the flowers
a sliver of a stick of cinnamon (you don't want the cinnamon to overpower the geranium scent)
Wash the leaves. Put all the ingredients in a large glass jar that can be sealed, shake well and leave for a month in a sunny place**. For the first week shake the jar daily till the sugar dissolves. At the end of the month strain, bottle and drink.
Others say that white resinated wine should be used though I'm sure the pine resin would outshine the lemony pelargonium leaves and cannot imagine the taste. If you want a harder liqueur then use vodka or raki.
The ruby tones of a good red wine and the lemony sweetness of the pelargonium are a perfect combination. Try it that way first.
*some say the wine should be semi sweet, some say dry. Just use whatever you can get
**others say keep in a dark place. Take your pick
And for Elaine. A bottle of this might ease the pain.