This homemade elderflower cordial recipe is the perfect way to celebrate the beginning of spring.
I don’t know what the groundhog said this year but spring is coming, I promise you! This elderflower cordial recipe is such a great way to celebrate it.
I’ll admit it I hate winter. It is why I avoid it and try to spend most of my time in the Caribbean. But there is nothing like celebrating warm days in March and April. There is an excitement when you see people are out on patios wearing shorts – at temperatures far too cold. But are we so happy summer is coming.
I’m sure the rest of the world would think we’re insane. Except maybe the Finnish – they are also crazy like Canadians.
I didn’t grow up with elderflower. Maybe five years ago I came home to an amazing citrus smell I couldn’t pinpoint. It was almost like lemon zest.
I’ve never had elderflower but quickly learned it’s a flower of a tree used to make wine and cordial – which is perfect for elderflower cordial cocktails!
And while I’m not a huge fan of flowery cocktail recipes this elderflower cordial recipe is amazing with a bit of vodka and cranberry juice or just soda. The citric acid is also fantastic in a Moscow Mule. For a non-alcoholic treat you can add elderflower cordial to sparkling water and lemons.
What is a Cordial Anyway?
Everything is new again and while the word cordial make me think of lazy days in Savannah, Georgia (despite never having visited) it’s actually found around the world.
However, cordial doesn’t have the same meaning everywhere in the world. In the US it’s an alcoholic syrup, often a liquer.
However in Europe and other regions of the world it’s a simple syrup and is non-alcoholic. Our elderflower cordial is of the European kind but being North American our first thought was to add vodka and cranberry to it.
The History of Elderflower Cordial
Elderflower cordial can be traced back to the Romans and it has been very popular in Victorian times.
Now it’s a specialty drink but is very popular in Austria, Germany, Hungary and Romania. In many cases it’s been used as herbal medicine.
Where to Find Elderflowers
As it’s the flower of an elder tree the blossom season begins in May and can run through July. The smell is almost like a honey blossom and it’s important to get them young and freshly picked when they are the most fragrant as they will turn bitter, just like their leaves.
If you’re out spring foraging look for elderflower heads that are neither green nor brown. Make sure you smell them, if they smell bitter like the leaves you are sure to have a bitter cordial.
You can find elderflower cordial in specialty stores, make sure to read the bottle as there are many mass producers who use elderflower “flavouring” which is cheaper and not as good.
However, it’s really easy to make at home and because of the high sugar content it keeps for a very long time.
The cordial is made by steeping the flower heads in a concentrated sugar solution so the flavour is infused into the syrup.
Elderflower Cordial Recipe
Easy Cocktails to Make With Elderflower Cordial
- You can mix elderflower cordial with sparkling wine and add mint for a bright twist on a mimosa.
- Elderflower fizz: Add it to a traditional white wine spritzer.
- If you’re more interesting in spirits elderflower cordial is a great addition to whiskey, bourbon and bitters.
Maybe it’s too soon to announce that spring is around the corner but this drink reminds me that warmer times are coming.
Love cocktails? Also check out: