Most rose water you purchase is not pure rose water but synthetic oil with water and preservatives added to it. Pure rose water is made by distilling water of roses and can also be used to flavor foods such as rice pudding and pastries.
You can make about a quart of high quality rose water in about 1 hour. Use caution not to simmer too long so the rose water essence doesn’t become diluted. Be sure to have a brick and heat safe stainless steel or glass quart bowl.
2-3 quarts fresh roses or rose petals.
Water and ice cubes or crushed ice
In the center of a large tall pot, like the round lidded type used for canning, place a fireplace or heatproof brick. On top of the brick place the heat safe bowl and put the roses in the pot, enough to reach the top of the brick. Pour just enough water to cover the roses and the water should be just above the top of the brick. Place the rounded lid upside down on the pot. Turn the stove on and bring the water to a rolling boil then lower heat to slow, steady simmer. As soon as the water begins to boil, put 2-3 trays of ice cubes or a bag of ice on top of the lid so the steam created in the pot will hit the cold lid and condense. The condensed water will drip down from the center of the lid and drop into the bowl sitting on the brick. This is a simple home “still”. About every twenty minutes, quickly lift lid and take out a sample of the water. It’s time to stop distilling once you have about a pint and a quart or water and it smells and tastes strong of roses.