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How to make delicate Elderflower liqueur

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Capture the taste of elderflowers in this delicate and unique elderflower liqueur when it’s in season and enjoy it later by the end of July when the liqueur is ready. Mixed simply with sparkling water or champagne, this versatile elderflower liqueur will add a floral taste and elevate any summer cocktails. 

I just recently came across this drink when I came with my friend to one local restaurant in my neighborhood. I always order the same local wine; Chasselas, as it is my favourite. But before I did, my friend asked the waiter if he could recommend something special.

He suggested elderflower liqueur and we just loved the idea as it was in the middle of Elderflower season. Elderflowers were blooming at every corner.  

It was such a pleasant experience that when back home I did some research about elderflower liqueur. 

elderflower liqueur substitutes

Elderflower Liqueur st. Germain

What I learned was interesting so I thought to share the little details with you. 

The St-Germain  Elderflower liqueur was launched only back in 2007 by Rob Cooper, newyorker that is from the third generation of the Cooper spirit company. At the age of thirty, he had an idea to launch his own brand and he bet on elderflowers. He did some testing and found elderflower blossoms growing in alpine region of France the best quality for his liqueur. Its production was very traditional starting with hand picking of elderflowrs by a small number of farmers that later the same day bicycled the blossoms into town for further production. This all lead to the creation of a unique liquor that won several awards and a significant windfall for Rob Cooper and his family as within just 5 years St Germain Elderflower spirit was acquired by Bacardi. Unfortunately, Rob Cooper died at very young age of 39.

elderflower liqueur recipe

Living in the alpine region of Switzerland myself I was tempted to try and make this famous liqueur.  There are, in fact only a few ingredients needed to make this irresistible Elderflower liqueur aka St Germain. 

One of them are Elderflowers

Harvesting Elderflowers

The flowers of Sambucus Nigra start to bloom from mid to late spring. They have typical creamy white flower heads that are made of small clusters of star-shaped flowers. They are loved by insects so collect just few from each shrub to leave other flowers for bees. The flowers are full of soft yellow pollen that is the carrier of their specific taste that we want in our liqueur so don’t wash them. Instead, go and forage them in the morning on a sunny day, just watch for insects, shake it off and the flowers are ready to be used. 

Their stems and  leaves are toxic when consumed in large amounts, so remove them before using them in any recipes.

How to make Elderflower liqueur?

First step

Collect 10-20 elderflower heads, cut the stems off and place the flowers into a bottle or mason jar

making elderflower liqueur - adding fresh elderflowers

Second step

Pour 500 ml of vodka into the jar so the flowers are covered completely. 

pouring vodka over elderflowers when making liqueur

Third step

Add lemon slices on the top

adding slices of lemon into elderflower liqueur mixture

Fourth step

Close the bottle or jar with a lid and place it in a cool and dark place.

how to make elderflower liqueur

Fifth step

Let it infuse for at least 1 month

Sixth step

Check if the blossoms are covered, otherwise pour in more alcohol. They tend to turn brown if exposed to the air. 

Seventh step

After one month strain the elderflowers and lemon through a cheese cloth or fine sieve.

straining elderflowers when making elderflower liqueur
making elderflower liqueur

You can consume it as it is or dilute it with sparkling water, lemon juice or champagne. This liqueur is versatile that goes well with any other spirits. The cocktails using Elderflower liqueur are very popular, delicious and perfect for any occasion thus the variations are endless. Just follow this mindful drinking guide.

how to use elderflower liqueur

Note: If you wish to sweeten the liquor you can add honey to the finished product or you can add sugar in the form of a simple syrup towards the end of the process. 

Make a simple syrup: add your desired quantity of sugar into 100 ml of boiling water. Once dissolved completely, let it cool down and add it to the liqueur. 

How to use Elderflower liqueur

Elderflower liqueur is made the same way as an elderflower tincture. Macerating elderflowers in 40% ethanol gives you a powerful tincture that you can gargle and mouthwash for colds and coughs. Alternatively can be used topically on the skin for rheumatism, swelling and pain.  if used in drops can:

This delicate liqueur plays well with all base spirits.

drinks made with liqueur from elderflowers

Cocktails with Elderflower liqueur

1. combination with Champagne

Mix 1 shot Elderflower Liqueur

2 shots Champagne (or dry white wine)

1 shot soda

Juice from ½ lemon

2. with gin and basil

Combine 1 shot elderflower liqueur

1 shot gin

1 dash orange bitters

Basil leaves to garnish

3. with gin and ginger

Mix 1 shot elderflower liqueur

3 slices ginger root

1 shot of gin

Juice from ½ lemon

Splash of soda

4. with whisky and thyme

Add 1 shot of elderflower liqueur,

1 shot of irish whisky

Juice from ½ lemon

Dash Angostura Bitters

Thyme to garnish

5. with vodka and mint

Combine 1 shot elderflower liqueur with 1 shot vodka and 1 shot ginger beer. Use mint to garnish.

What does Elderflower liqueur taste like?

Elderflowers are carriers of taste of this liqueur that is fruity and fresh. You can feel citrus and tropical fruits in the spirit 

What is Elderflower liqueur substitute?

To add the floral elderflower taste to your cocktails you can use elderflower cordial diluted with other neutral spirits  such as vodka or white rum. 

Yield: 15 servings

Elderflower liqueur

elderflower liqueur recipe

Capture the taste of elderflowers in this delicate and unique elderflower liqueur when its in season and enjoy it later by the end of July when the liqueur is ready.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Additional Time 1 month
Total Time 1 month 30 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Collect 10-20 elderflower heads, cut the stems off and place the flowers into a bottle or mason jar
  2. Pour 700 ml of vodka into the jar so the flowers are covered completely.
  3. Add lemon slices on the top
  4. Close the bottle or jar with a lid and place it in a cool and dark place.
  5. Let it infuse for at least 1 month
  6. Check if the blossoms are covered, otherwise pour in more alcohol. They tend to turn brown if exposed to the air.
  7. After one month strain the elderflowers and lemon through a cheese cloth or fine sieve.



Notes

Note: If you wish to sweeten the liquor you can add honey to the finished product or you can add sugar in the form of a simple syrup towards the end of the process.
Make a simple syrup: add your desired quantity of sugar into 100 ml of boiling water. Once dissolved completely, let it cool down and add it to the liqueur.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

15

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 3247Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 14mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 0gSugar: 3gProtein: 0g

Did you make this recipe?

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Vladka Merva on July 16th, 2020

4 Comments on “How to make delicate Elderflower liqueur”

  1. I make my elderflower liqueur with dried florets I can get from any local home brew store (LHBS) any time of the year. I use about 25 g /500 ml of spirit (vodka). If you are foraging for elderflowers, you do need to be careful. Not every elderflower tree has edible florets and the stems are not edible.

    Reply
    • you can use other alcohol but vodka is neutral in taste and scent so let elderflowers stand out. Select something neutral if you want to experience the Elderflower scent and taste.

      Reply

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