Elderflower Gin

by Kristin on June 29, 2012

My elder trees were slow to bloom this year, and when they finally did, I think they were wise to me. I’d been eying up the flowers impatiently for weeks, yet the only decent ones were way up high, out of my reach even with a ladder. I had plans for them — elderflower gin.

The musky elderflower is a beautiful complement to gin, marrying nicely with its herbal notes. After steeping for a week, the flowers also impart a woodiness that you don’t taste in the usual cordial. Made into an Irish countryside twist on a gin and tonic, this might just give my other favourite summertime drink, an elderflower Bellini, a run for its money.

If you like this, you might also like these other elder recipes:

Elderflower Gin
adapted from Stevie Parle in The Telegraph

Makes about 700 ml

The best time to pick elderflowers is on a dry, warm day, well away from traffic and roadsides. Shake them gently to get rid of any insects.

1 x 700 ml bottle of gin (I used Cork Dry Gin)
4 tablespoons sugar
20 large elderflower heads

Pour the gin into a large sterilised jar (I used a 1.5 litre Le Parfait jar). Add in the sugar, seal the jar and shake gently until the sugar has dissolved. Snip off as much of the woody stems from the elderflower heads as you can, then add the flowers to the jar. Press down the flowers with the back of a spoon until they’re all submerged. Seal the jar and shake it gently so that all the flowers get swirled in the gin. Set aside in a cool, dark place and shake once a day for one week, after which time the gin will have turned a golden honey colour. Strain the gin through a fine mesh sieve into another sterilised jar and enjoy.


{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Margaret June 30, 2012 at 1:44 pm

I wonder would it work with vodka? Don’t do gin!!!

Cannot believe it is 2 years since you went home laden with elder flowers from here. Glad you’ve located a source close to home! :)


Kristin July 6, 2012 at 10:01 am

I’d say it’s worth a try with vodka – or just try adding a dash of regular cordial to vodka if you don’t want to risk making a whole bottle.

Yes, hard to believe that meet-up at your farm was already two years ago! Incredible, too, to think of all that has happened in the meantime.


Magda (@MagdasCauldron) June 30, 2012 at 6:14 pm

I’m jealous, I want to have my own elderflower tree too! And then I will try all your recipes :)


Kristin July 6, 2012 at 10:01 am

Elder trees are absolutely everywhere – it’s a good excuse to go foraging!


Imen June 28, 2013 at 2:18 pm

Oooooooooh, this sounds nice, love the soft flavour of Elderflower…I bet it is nice against the juniper notes in the gin.
I’ve got something elderflowery-fun up my sleeve too, edible + slurrrrrpable =))
See you soon
Imen x


Kristin June 28, 2013 at 2:39 pm

Edible but slurpable … is it an elderflower slushy? ;) I’m sure it will be fab, whatever it is!


Kate July 1, 2013 at 11:22 am

This sounds delicious! So much better than just adding cordial to cocktails! Going to try this today! :)


Kristin July 2, 2013 at 9:17 pm

Can’t wait to hear what you think of it, Kate – or if it makes its way into a cake…


Mizz Winkens (Karen) August 1, 2013 at 11:21 am

This must taste absolutely divine! I’m sorry I have to wait now til next year to make it : ( On the plus side I’m still enjoying my Elderflower sorbet. Tastes great with natural yogurt. Love your blog : )


Kristin August 1, 2013 at 4:19 pm

Loving the sound of elderflower sorbet! But yes, the season for the flowers passes all too quickly. Roll on elderberries though!


ND April 30, 2014 at 6:09 pm

Could this be made with dried Elderflowers.


Kristin May 15, 2014 at 7:47 am

I wouldn’t think so – I’m guessing the flavour wouldn’t come through and that the dried flowers might not strain out properly either. But elderflower season is almost here!


Isabelle June 29, 2014 at 3:40 pm

Hi – I want to try your recipe for elderflower gin but I will be going on holiday for 1 week. Do you think it would still work if the mixture wasn’t stirred for a few days?



Kristin June 29, 2014 at 3:45 pm

I think it would be just fine – definitely worth a try!


Emma July 2, 2014 at 12:03 pm

Hello, I made your recipe last week and just strained it yesterday, the elderflowers had gone a very dark colour and the gin is quite dark and doesn’t smell at all elderflowery :-( where do you reckon I went wrong? Was looking forward to trying making some elderflower tinted Singapore slings!

Thanks, Emma.


Kristin July 2, 2014 at 10:41 pm

When I made mine the elderflowers did turn a bit brown and the colour of the gin was similar to honey. A few thoughts: Did you open the jar at any point while the flowers were steeping in the gin (i.e. perhaps they reacted with the air)? Were the flowers all completely submerged in the gin? Did you snip off as much of the woody stems as possible? And what kind of gin did you use? I used Cork Dry Gin, which isn’t as strong tasting as other brands so that the elderflower flavour comes through more clearly.

Did you taste the gin? Perhaps it tastes more elderflowery than it smells?


Emma July 2, 2014 at 11:04 pm

Hi Kristin,

Thanks, I didn’t open the jar but not all the elderflowers were completely submerged ( i think i went a bit over the top and put too many in!) I haven’t plucked up the courage to taste it yet as I wasn’t convinced by the smell, but I’ll give it ago and see! I used the tesco value gin so I’ll not be too heartbroken if it’s totally rotten.


Allan Pearce July 22, 2014 at 11:33 pm

I have followed the recipe . The colour looks good but the taste is very bitter almost like whiskey,do you think I should add more sugar. I expected the taste to be like a strong elder flower cordial with gin flavour. Have expected to much !!


Kristin July 23, 2014 at 8:28 am

It would be worth a try to add more sugar, or if you have some cordial, maybe just add a dash of that instead. I think this recipe is the opposite of what you were expecting – not elderflower cordial with a gin flavour, but rather, the gin is still the foremost flavour but with a subtle elderflower note.


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