Rose water is a flavored water made by steeping rose petals in water. It is the hydrosol portion of the distillate of rose petals, a by-product of the production of rose oil for use in perfume. It is used to flavor food, as a component in some cosmetic and medical preparations, and for religious purposes throughout Europe and Asia. Rose syrup is made from rose water, with sugar added.
Rose water has a very distinctive flavor and is used heavily in Persian and Middle Eastern cuisine—especially in sweets such as nougat, gumdrops, raahat and baklava. For example, rose water is used to give some types of Turkish delight their distinctive flavors. In Iran, it is also added to tea, ice cream, cookies and other sweets in small quantities, and in the Arab world, Pakistan and India it is used to flavor milk and dairy-based dishes such as rice pudding. It is also a key ingredient in sweet lassi, a drink made from yogurt, sugar and various fruit juices, and is also used to make jallab.
Rose water is a usual component of perfume. A rose water ointment is occasionally used as an emollient, and rose water is sometimes used in cosmetics such as cold creams. In India, rose water is used as eye drops to clear them. Some people in India also use rose water as spray applied directly to the face for natural fragrance and moisturizer, especially during winters. Rose water is often sprinkled in Indian weddings to welcome guests.
Rose water is used as a perfume in religious ceremonies (Hindu, Muslim and Zoroastrian). Water used to clean the Kaaba, the Qibla for Muslims located in Mecca, combines Zamzam water with rose water as an additive.