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Elderflower-Gin Cocktail Recipe

elderflower gin
Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / RitaE

It’s summer and the smell of elderflowers is in the air. Elderflower gin is the perfect tipple for those heady sunny evenings and is easy to make at home.

There’s nothing quite like a refreshing elderflower gin on a warm summer’s day. Whether you’re just kicking your feet up in the garden, or entertaining guests, you can hit the spot with this elderflower-infused delight. Elderflowers can be easy to source, and their flavor will infuse your favorite gin. Once you’ve collected your harvest, it’s quick and easy to prepare elderflower gin, and it will keep well for up to a month.

Where to Find Organic Elderflowers?

Summer harvesting is best for elderflower gin.
Summer harvesting is best for elderflower gin. (Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / Hans)

Elderflowers are the flowers of elder (often called elderberry) shrubs, which can grow as tall as trees. There are several varieties of elder shrubs across the United States. The variety you are most likely to find is the American Elderberry, or “sambucus canadensis”, common throughout North America in particular.

Elderflowers are white to cream in color and have a beautiful aroma, making them an ideal accompaniment for your gin. They grow in clusters and you’ll see them in bloom in the summer months. The best harvesting times will vary for your area, but look out for them from May-July. Elderflowers are best picked when large and fully opened for the best fragrance. The flowers are best picked in the middle of the day, when also at the height of their scent. For minimal environmental impact only take a few flowers from each tree, to keep flowers available for birds and insects, and be careful as you remove the flowers, so as not to damage the shrub. The optimal place to snip the elderflowers is underneath the head, where the small stems meet the larger ones. Try not to take too much of the large stem.

For the most organic and clean elderflowers, try and find shrubs that are away from roads, making sure you have identified them as elders, and not imposters. It’s a good idea to lightly shake the stems and flowers right after harvesting, to allow any insects hiding in them to depart. You can then place them loosely in a basket or large bag to take home.

Once home, you can shake it again, in case any insects wanted to come back with you, and use it as soon as possible.

Step by Step Instructions for Infused Elderflower Gin

Leave your gin to infuse for upto a week.
Leave your gin to infuse for upto a week. (Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / RitaE)


  • 7-10 freshly picked elderflower heads (roughly 3 sprigs)
  • 500ml bottle of gin
  • 1 tbsp golden caster sugar
  • 1 organic lemon

Step-by-step elderflower gin recipe:

  1. After shaking the flowers, you can gently rinse them. Washing them vigorously will remove a lot of the flavor, so don’t overdo it.
  2. Remove the heads from the stem.
  3. Pour the gin into a large bowl, that you can later cover.
  4. Add the sugar to the gin.
  5. Stir the sugar into the gin until it dissolves.
  6. Add the elderflower heads.
  7. If you have a waxed lemon, wash it and rub it until the wax is gone.
  8. Slice the lemon and add it to the mixture.
  9. Stir, and then cover.
  10. Leave the mixture to infuse for up to a week, stirring gently each day.
  11. After a few days, your elderflower gin may have developed a slight yellow color.
  12. Using a fine-mesh sieve, strain the mixture, discarding the flowers and lemon.
  13. You can repeat the straining process if required.
  14. Pour the gin into its original, or another clean bottle.

Elderflower Gin Drink Suggestions

Elderflower cocktails can easily be made non-alcoholic.
Elderflower cocktails can easily be made non-alcoholic. (Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / bridgesward)

You can experiment with mixers for your gin, it doesn’t always have to be accompanied by the familiar tonic water. You could also try soda, lime, pineapple juice or even cucumber. You may choose to get creative with cocktail recipes such as our Mulled Gin Cocktail. Or why not try a Gimlet (fresh lime juice and mint) or a more complex Singapore Sling (gin, cointreau, cherry brandy, lime, benedictine, and pineapple juice). You can even make up your own cocktail, and give it your own unique name.

If you would like a non-alcoholic recipe for elderflower, you could try our easy-to-follow recipe for elderflower syrup.

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