Rose water is a popular ingredient in Middle Eastern cooking. Unfortunately, it is not a commonly used ingredient in Western cooking, so it may be difficult to find for some people.
Where to Buy Rose Water
First, try health food stores or natural grocers. People use rose water in at-home facials, and these stores are usually reliable suppliers. Try Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, and other local stores that are similar to these.
Try your supermarket. Rose water is usually stocked in the ethnic food section. If you can't find it, ask your store manager. The store might carry it but have it shelved in an odd location. If your store doesn't stock it, ask that the staff considers offering it.
Ordering online is also an easy way to get rose water. Try these online Middle Eastern grocers for all of your Middle Eastern ingredients.
How to Choose the Best Rose Water
There's rose water, and then there's rose water. While those who want to use rose water for skin care might want the most natural product available, it might not matter as much for cooking. Check your recipe before you begin to see if this is significant and if it will affect the result.
The highest-quality rose water is made by a distillation process. In this process, masses of roses are put into a still and then steamed. When the steam is returned to water, the water is infused with rose plant compounds and rose oil. Rose water made in this way has only roses and water on its ingredients list and is called rose distillate or rose hydrolat. The rose water you find might also be distilled but have other ingredients added, such as essential oil or synthetic oil fragrance, to make the water more intense. If you can't find pure distillate, this is the second best choice.
You also will find rose water that has been created in a lab and is totally synthetic or it could be rose water that has been made by combining water with essential rose oil or rose extract. The rose oil or extract could be natural or synthetic. This is most likely called rose flower water or floral water.
It's likely that the more natural the rose water is, the more you will pay for it. If you don't need the most natural variety, save some money and go for the synthetic rose water. But if it's important to your recipe to have distillate, it's a small price to pay for a better result.