Friday, 6 July 2012

Fabulous Friday: Cocktail Hour

Elderflower Fizz

Aoife, Cambridge

I had far too much fun at a sparkling wine tasting on Wednesday. Feeling inspired, l thought the time was right for a Fabulous Friday cocktail with a bit of sparkle. I started with the French 75 cocktail (gin and champagne in the same glass, what's not to like?) which is one of my favourite drinks for putting a spring in your step or sorting out any lingering "virus". Today's Fabulous Friday cocktail uses elderflower liqueur to add an uplifting aromatic dimension to this classic. I selflessly spent last night perfecting this wondrous cocktail for you all and it is already a new favourite. It's certainly the first thing I am getting into when I get home this evening. 
There are still one or two elderflower blossoms left in the hedgerows, if you act quickly you might get enough for a garnish. You could use elderflower cordial instead of the liqueur but I've found the liqueur much more redolent of the elderflower aroma and flavour than cordial. Cordial also won't give you quite the same Friday feeling!

Serves one:
15mL elderflower liqueur (I used home-made, recipe below, but St Germain is available in most good off-licences) 
15mL lemon juice
Champagne or sparkling wine

Add the lemon juice and elderflower liqueur to a champagne glass, top up with champagne or sparkling wine. Depending on the sweetness of your liqueur you might want to add a little sugar syrup to taste. Garnish with lemon twist and/or elderflower blossoms.

Elderflower Liquer
1 bag of elderflower blossoms
vodka and/or gin
50g of sugar per 500mL of liqueur

Pick a bag full of elderflower blossoms. Some trees seem to be absolutely infested with little black insects, avoid these. Also, have a sniff before you pick: some trees seem to smell more like cat-pee than others. Once you get them home, pick off any remaining insects and get rid of the bigger stems. Place the flowers in a sterilised, sealable jar and add vodka and/or gin until they are all covered. I used about half and half vodka/gin (I ran out of vodka). I left mine for a week before filtering through a sieve lined with muslin (gets all the little bits out). Measure out how much liquid you now have (I ended up with approximately 500mL of liqueur) and pour it back into the washed and sterilised jar. It's then time to add the sugar. I added 50g of caster sugar, however, I started by adding half this amount, waited a day for it all to dissolve, tasted it and then added more. I would recommend doing this the first time you make it so you get it the way you like it. It might take a couple of days for the sugar to dissolve but once it has you can bottle it in a clean, sterilised bottle and let it mature. Or, if you are like me, drink it pretty much straight away. It should last as long as you can keep it.


  1. Ooh, this looks lovely. And I've never heard of St Germain before - sounds fab! I'm always too disorganised to scoop up elderflowers when they're in season, so I like the idea of not missing out on the elderflower flavour - and mixing it with some bubbles!

    1. Thanks Nora, it really is fabulous. When I was away in Ireland recently I was chatting to a bar lady who told me she had just come back from working in New York and that Elderflower liqueur was the hottest thing over there for cocktails. I had to try some - the first year I have managed to get myself in gear and actually pick some elderflowers!

    2. So, when I make this, I can casually drop into conversation "You know, elderflower cocktails are quite the latest thing in New York". Marvellous! :)