Flower-Infused Festive Cocktails

In our Rituals series, we invite members of our creative community to explore simple, uplifting ways to enhance the everyday. This season: Perma Club’s Pamela and Sacha share their winter cocktail recipes using tequila, seasonal ingredients and roselle flowers.

‘Care for people, care for the planet, share the surplus.’ These are the key ethics of permaculture, the holistic design philosophy that inspired Sacha Van Damme to start Perma Club. Described by his wife and co-founder, Pamela Dabdoub, as a ‘businessman beau farmer’; Sacha grew up in Clearwater Bay, Hong Kong, where the couple’s organic permaculture farm is based. ‘I was fortunate enough to always be surrounded by nature,’ he says. ‘The first time I saw a snake, it frightened me, and I felt vulnerable. I really understood to respect the natural world. The wilderness has its own hierarchy, and it is not our place to interfere with that.’

“The efforts you make today are for a better tomorrow; when you see a flower blossom after months of taking care of a plant, it fills up your heart to know you did that.”

Likewise, ‘rebel in spirit’ and environmental advocate Pamela tells a poetic tale of the lessons she has learned from the natural world: ‘Season after season, you see things grow from a seed, just like a baby. You also see things die, which helps you understand that everything in life has its course. You begin to understand that the efforts you make today are for a better tomorrow; when you see a flower blossom after months of taking care of a plant, it fills up your heart to know you did that. Nature teaches you to slow down and just be present, which is truly what life is about.’

At university, the couple learned about economics and supply chains; Sacha soon concluded that more sustainable agricultural solutions were urgently needed. He was introduced to permaculture by Kadoorie Farm’s Andrew McAuley, which led him to create a settlement where the community could plant and enjoy food, without using herbicides and pesticides, in harmony with the environment. Perma Club now offers everything from curated lunches in the garden, to workshops on seasonal plants and produce with local artisans. But it is the education arm of the business that brings them the most joy. ‘Hong Kong kids are not exposed to much nature,’ says Pamela. ‘The fascination in their faces when they eat a perfectly ripe tomato off the vine – even though they swore they’d hate them – makes us so happy.’

This winter, Pamela and Sacha will be celebrating the season together with their families. ‘No matter what we serve,’ says Pamela, ‘we’ll create a vibe with nice lighting, candles, flowers and garden garnishes for all the dishes.’ While the climate crisis has had its impact (‘We have seen winters get shorter, which reduces our window to grow’), Pamela is optimistic about this season’s crop: ‘We’ve grown all our favourites: coriander, parsley, basil, chives, rosemary, carrots, tomatoes, and nasturtium, which we call the “Michelin flower”, as it’s often used in Michelin-star restaurants.’

“My mother-in-law always says that we consume with our eyes… Herbs have such a wonderful intense flavour – they are the perfect addition to any drink.”

And what about the all-important drinks? ‘My mother-in-law always says that we consume with our eyes’ says Pamela. ‘Herbs, like roselle, have such a wonderful intense flavour – they are the perfect addition to any drink.’ Here, in a nod to her (and Sacha’s ‘honorary’) Mexican heritage, the couple share a winter cocktail recipe to warm the soul…

Roselle-Infused Cocktails


Roselle buds and leaves
Sparkling rock water – this is naturally filtered through mineral-rich rocks in the springs of Nuevo Leon
Agave syrup
Worm salt


Pick roselle buds for a festive red and sweet, tart flavour


Place in a pot of water to boil for a few minutes


Coat each glass rim with agave syrup


Dip in worm salt to enhance the cocktail taste


Add ice and the juice of one lime to each glass


Pour sparking water until each glass is ⅓ full


Add a single portion of tequila – or double, if you want yours extra strong


Top with roselle tea and garnish with roselle leaf

If you’re looking to introduce the values of permaculture into your life, Pamela and Sacha suggest starting with minimising waste – for example, choose reusable containers and compost whenever you can – and becoming invested in what you eat, from shopping locally sourced and seasonal wholefoods (also good for your health) to reducing plastic packaging. It’s also important to find and share resources with like-minded individuals: ‘Community is at the core of what we do,’ says Pamela. ‘It takes a village to do anything and this is a great initiative to share with the people around you.’

For more ideas and inspiration, follow @permaclub