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 and Irish whiskey punch
- Elderflower Bellini
- Gooseberry and elderflower compote
- Spiced wild elderberry syrup
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.