Elderflower Cocktails - with elderflower liqueur
Words by Simon Difford
Elderflower liqueurs are delicately flavoured, aromatic and floral. Elderflower mixes brilliantly with pretty much every spirit, both white and brown, even combining well with the strong flavours of Islay whisky and mezcal.
Elderflower tends to mix better with light coloured fruits such as pear, apple and white grapes. Strong berry flavours such as raspberry, blackberry and blackcurrant tend to overwhelm elderflower with only its honeyed sweetness contributing to such drinks, its floral flavours tend to be smothered by these dark fruits.
Back in 2006, I helped formulate and launch the world's first elderflower liqueur, St-Germain Elderflower liqueur and as I received the first samples, many months before we finally launched the product, I believe I was the first to use what has become known as "bartender's ketchup" in cocktails. Due to the copious samples and the liqueur's promotion being my job at the time, I also have probably created more cocktails using elderflower liqueur than anyone else - at the time of writing, I've 36 of my own elderflower cocktails on this website.
Follows 20 tasty cocktails made with elderflower liqueur, some my own but most created by others.
With: Cachaça, Aperol, elderflower liqueur and chilled water
We say: Rust coloured and bittersweet with cachaça and elderflower.
With: Ripe strawberries, raspberries, vodka, elderflower liqueur, apple juice, lime juice, sugar syrup and club soda
We say: Easy drinking, fruity, refreshing and lightly sweet. Bring on the summer's afternoon.
Daisy Cutter Martini
With: Mint leaves, vodka, elderflower liqueur, dry vermouth and yellow Chartreuse
We say: Floral, minty and herbal with a dry finish.
With: Light rum, elderflower liqueur, dry vermouth, lemon juice, sugar syrup and pasteurised egg white
We say: Delicately laced with light rum, it's zesty, silky smooth and easy.
Dried Meadow Flower
With: Reposado tequila, elderflower liqueur, Suze gentian liqueur, lemon juice and club soda
We say: Floral elderflower and tequila with a hint of bittersweet gentian and refreshing lemon.
With: Elderflower liqueur, lime juice, pasteurised egg white and orange bitters
We say: So smooth it's almost fluffy. A great after-dinner drink.
With: Mint leaves, light rum, elderflower liqueur and lime juice
We say: The enduring classic benefits from a touch of elderflower.
With: Rosemary sprig, London Dry gin and elderflower liqueur
We say: Rosemary and sweet elderflower combine wonderfully with the gin botanicals to make an interesting and approachable Martini.
With: Silver tequila, Islay single malt whisky, elderflower liqueur, lime juice, sugar syrup and chilled water
We say: Cachaça, lime and elderflower with a smoky hit of Islay whisky.
With: Club soda, Suze gentian liqueur, elderflower liqueur and brut champagne
We say: This aperitif-style cocktail perfectly fits its name. That said, fans of Italian fizz will be interested to learn how well this spritz works when made with prosecco in place of champagne.
With: Absinthe, chilled water, bourbon whiskey, elderflower liqueur and cognac VSOP
We say: Elderflower liqueur mellows and boosts floral notes in the cognac while the merest dash of absinthe dries and adds a robust hint of aniseed.
With: English cucumber peeled, Irish whiskey, elderflower liqueur, lemon juice and sugar syrup
We say: Fresh, juicy cucumber and elderflower with Irish whiskey and zesty lemon.
Left Bank Martini
With: London Dry gin, elderflower liqueur, white wine and dry vermouth
We say: An aromatic, dry blend. Modern bartending convention would suggest that this drink should be stirred. However, it's much better shaken. Go easy with the spray of lime zest oils - this delicate drink is easily overpowered with any more than a fine mist.
Love on Sale
With: Rye spirit, elderflower liqueur, dry vermouth, Luxardo Maraschino liqueur and lemon juice
We say: Spiritous and fresh - if you like Natural Daiquiris then perhaps try this. The unaged rye spirit sits brilliantly with the vermouth and maraschino with the lemon enlivening the drink.
With: London Dry gin, pink grapefruit juice, Campari and elderflower liqueur
We say: Tart, dry and lightly bitter, but with just enough underlying sweetness to stroke the palate and make another sip so very desirable - a complex, bittersweet taste sensation. Brilliant as an aperitif on a hot summer's evening.
Pastry War Margarita
With: Reposado tequila, mezcal, Montenegro Amaro, elderflower liqueur, lime juice and salt
We say: Mezcal, amaro, elderflower liqueur and salt add attitude and complexity to this Margarita-styled cocktail.
With: London Dry gin, elderflower liqueur, lemon juice, lime juice and pasteurised egg white
We say: Fabulously light, almost creamy and very refreshing.
St-Germain Cocktail (Elderflower Spritz)
With: White wine, elderflower liqueur and club soda
We say: A long, easy drinking summer cooler.
With: Calvados, pisco, elderflower liqueur and white wine
We say: Whiter than white but yet mysterious.
With: Pisco, elderflower liqueur, pink grapefruit juice, lemon juice and club soda
We say: Light, balanced and refreshing. The pisco character shines through.