This week has Elderflowers to my front garden! Beautiful lacy umbrellas of the tiniest blossoms, full of fragrance and flavor! The time was “ripe” to make an elderflower liqueur to enjoy for the summer months to follow! (If you have not tried the commercial elderflower liqueur, St Germain, I would encourage you to do so immediately.) Apparently the elderflowers are edible and fabulous battered and deep fried as well, but when I broached the subject to the family, I was met with suspicion and pish-shaws…..they would eat it if I made a sauce to go with, I just know it!!
I chose my flowers and cut them first thing in the morning, which according to all the old recipes I found for this elixir, was the best time for the blossoms. I gently shook each cluster over some newspaper to dislodge any no-see-ums, and cut the majority of the stems from the blossoms. My elderflower plant is of an ornamental nature as well as edible, the variety is “Black Lace Elderberry” by Monrovia. The blossoms have a distinct pink tint to them, thus a pink tinted cordial versus the traditional green tint from the wild elderberry shrub.
I didn’t want to make a huge quantity (thank goodness elderberry has a long bloom time!) so I placed the flowers into a ¾ quart glass jar and covered it with 80 proof vodka. I placed the jar in the basement for about 3 weeks to allow full flavor to develop. When finished steeping, I strained the infused vodka with cheesecloth until it was perfectly clear and tinted a lovely pink. (If you are using traditional elderflowers, yours will be tinted green.)
Make a simple syrup by boiling 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water together for about 3 minutes until sugar has completely dissolved. This quantity was perfect for the amount of vodka I used, so you may need to add additional simple syrup to adjust to the level of sweetness you desire.
My favorite cocktail to make with the elderflower cordial thus far has been:
2 cups dry sparkling wine (I used Prosecco)
2 cups sparkling water
1 cup elderflower cordial
Everything should be ice cold, stir gently and enjoy!