Floral flavours for drinks 2024

June 3, 2024

Floral flavours for drinks 2024

Floral flavours are blossoming as a drinks trend, aligning with wider drink market trends around wellness, escapism, sustainability and social media ‘shareability’.

Brightly coloured blooms can create eye-catching, must-share drinks – like pinks and purples created by the ever-popular rose or lavender. Florals traditionally used in Asian cultures suit the international drinks trends – like orange blossom and jasmine – while flowers famed for their healing properties align with wellness trends – like hibiscus and chamomile. There are more up-and-coming florals too, including opulent magnolia and sweet violet.

In our Floral Flavours trend report we explore the many drink types that flavours from flowers work well for, and the complementary botanical ingredients to pair them with.

Evergreen floral flavours – established trends

A number of floral flavours already dominate the drinks market – notably: distinctive lavender, delicate cherry blossom, sweet rose, and fresh elderflower.

Lavender’s notes, like the wildflower itself, have spread quickly as a floral drink flavour thank to its bold hue, familiar scent, and wellness benefits.

Starbucks Lavender Frappuccino

Lavender suits both sweet and tart pairings, including honey, vanilla, blueberry, lemon, and earl grey. Big name brands and independent coffee shops alike have experimented with these pairings, including in lavender lemongrass lattes, Smirnoff’s lavender lemonade RTD, and Starbucks’ lavender frappuccino and iced chai. The latter is one of many QSRs embracing lavender in lattes, frappes and mochas, and Monin has made these serves DIY-able too, with a sugar-free lavender syrup.

Cherry blossom’s cheerful pink hues are well established as a luxurious floral flavour, conjuring feelings of escapism and femininity for drinkers. Unlike the Sakura tree’s fleeting season in bloom across its native Japan, cherry blossom as a flavour is long-lasting. It pairs with fruits like lychee, peach, and strawberry, as well as rich chocolate.

The new Roku Sakura Bloom gin gives a nod to the tree’s short season, as a limited-edition creation for UK drinkers. North American drinkers have been enjoying blossom coffees and cocktails too, made using cherry blossom flavoured syrups.

Rose Tea Lemonade

Rose is another soft pink floral flavour that drinkers fall in love with, thanks to its fragrance and sweet flavour. It pairs with other sweet and earthy botanicals, including hibiscus, vanilla, a range of berries, lychee, pistachio, cardamom, and white chocolate.

Rose flavoured drinks tend to the lead the way for the ongoing pink drinks trend, and suit extra decadent creations when topped with rose petals too. The flower’s healthy properties mean it aligns with wellness trends too. Rose lattes, lemonades, and cold brews are all being made using flavoured syrups.

Elderflower drinks are now as abundant as the fast-growing blooms of the elder shrub itself. The creamy-coloured flowers have been used in food, drinks and medicines for millennia, pairing well with apple, pear, lychee, lemon, strawberry, white grapes, mint and more.

RedBull Elderflower and Curcuba

The flower is seen as a sophisticated flavour thanks to its subtle notes, so is used everywhere from cordials, presses and syrups to liqueurs and seltzers. Gifford’s has used it as the base flavour for four new non-alcoholic liqueurs in the US, while Red Bull has recently combined it with curcuba for a limited-edition energy drink.

Blooming floral flavours – growing trends

A number of other floral flavours for drinks are now germinating and growing in popularity – crisp orange blossom, earthy hibiscus, gentle chamomile, and fragrant jasmine.

Orange blossom’s combination of citrusy and floral notes make it a hit in softening or elevating a range of drinks. Already widely used in dishes across parts of the Middle East, it is now increasingly being used in coffees and cordials. It pairs well with vanilla, honey, or ginger, as demonstrated by baristas and influencers across the US who add the floral flavour to lattes.

Jasmine is another blossom that’s long been used in drinks across Asia. The fragrant flower can be paired with soft, citrusy or tropical flavours, including peach, lychee, lemon, honey, and mango.

Coffee shops in the US have created a luxurious honey jasmine latte that’s sprinkled with bee pollen, while a mixologist-turned-influencer has shared his homemade batch of jasmine and pandan cordial on Instagram.

Chamomile might be synonymous with winding down before bed but its delicate floral flavour means it is being embraced across a range of drink types and usage occasions.

Casaroma Cafe Ginger - Chamomile Refresher - floral flavours for drinks

Vista Gin has added an aromatic chamomile to its line of flavoured gins for a mood-boosting evening drink, while New York’s Casaroma Café has a ginger chamomile refresher for a morning pick-me-up.

Chamomile can be paired with other flowers like elderflower and lavender, along with ginger, honey, rhubarb, lemon, and strawberry.

Hibiscus has maintained its place as a trending floral flavour for drinks for a few years now. It has broad flavour profile, balancing both sweet and tart notes that can complement or balance bolder flavours – like softer rose, orange or watermelon, or bolder ginger, lemon, cranberry or cherry.

The bright bloom already lends its colour and flavour to tonics, coffees, cocktails and even beers. Across the US, big brands, independent coffee shops and influencers alike have created hibiscus tonics, lattes and americanos, refreshers, and an eye-catching bright red, salt-rimmed hibiscus margarita.

Budding floral flavours – emerging trends

The popularity of all these floral flavours for drinks is seeing other flower’s notes and fragrances start to be propagated – including opulent magnolia, sweet violet, and delicate peach blossom.

Magnolia Cocktail

Magnolia’s many species mean it offers a range of flavours, from subtle floral or lemon-like notes to gingery or bitter profiles. This allows magnolia to be paired with zesty and spicy flavours, including lemon, ginger, cardamom and chilli.

These pairings are being embraced in cordials, cocktails and spritzes. Cardiff’s Lab 22 bar has created a Roku gin and magnolia cordial cocktail, while TikToker’s have used magnolia syrups and cordials to create fragrant cocktails.

Violet’s flavour and fragrance will be nostalgic for many, thanks to its use in Parma Violet sweets. Its sweet, fresh and peppery notes pair well with botanicals including almond, vanilla, lemon, lavender, and chai.

A UK TikToker famed for using foraged ingredients has shared how she’s created a wild violet gin. And in the US, these floral flavours are drinkable at Disney in a frozen violet lemonade and served up in violet cold brews and lattes in coffee shops.

Peach Blossom Floral Drink - floral flavours for drinks

Peach blossom is another fast-growing floral drink flavour. This fruity floral is not only an elegant addition to drinks, but also aligns creations with the trendy 2024 Colour of the Year, Peach Fuzz.

It is already being paired with honey and lychee to create lemonades, fruity shakes and iced coffees. In Australia, the bubble tea brand Utopia has a three-strong range of peach blossom drinks, while Starbucks sells a Peach Passion Blossom Cream Frappuccino across Asia.

Cultivate your floral drink flavour ideas

At Simpsons, we’re experts in developing, formulating and manufacturing flavours for drinks. We keep pace of all drinks industry trends, sharing insights and ideas that ensure our customers are always on top of the latest consumer trends. Chat to our team today to see how we can develop floral flavours for drinks together.


Image source: Trendhub The Food People 2024

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