Here’s how to make your own deliciously light and delicate ‘summer-in-a-glass’ elderflower liqueur just like the fancy French St Germain liqueur but for a mere fraction of the price!
What’s so special about this homemade liqueur
- Like all my liqueurs this is super easy to make, just a few ingredients and a few simple steps to create something truly magical.
- Elderflowers are a springtime delight full of amazing sweet floral scent and flavour too.
- Serve this homemade elderflower liqueur straight or as part of a summer cocktail, check out this famous St Germain cocktail recipe and brief history of the drink itself.
I love elderflowers and use them as often as I can. Check out my strawberry and elderflower jam recipe or my raspberry peach and elderflower jam which is like a peach melba in a jar. And of course there is my homemade elderflower fizz, a non alcoholic drink that tastes delightful.
The Elder tree (black elder, ellhorn) has a long and varied history. it is said that Judas hanged himself from one. The Anglo-Saxons thought that if you fell asleep under and elder tree you would enter the fairy world.
The elderflowers themselves bloom from early May till almost August. They are creamy white tiny flowers that form in clusters called crowns.
Elderflowers can easily be confused with rowan blossom so do be careful when you are foraging for elderflowers.
The scent of elderflowers is unmistakable. They have a sweet floral scent that is strong and almost heady drawing youo towards the tree/bush.
Foraging for elderflowers
Take a pair of sharp scissors/snips to cut the flowers crowns off the twigs.
Only take a few elderflower crowns from each tree. By removing the flowers you are of course stopping the production of elderberries and that’s what feeds the birds. Oh, and also provides you with elderberries to make my elderberry chutney!
Place the elderflowers in a basket if possible so you don’t crush the blossoms on the way home.
Pick elderflowers in the morning after the dew has dried and the fragrance is strong. Don’t pick elderflowers in the rain or when the flowers are wet.
Ingredients for elderflower liqueur
There are only a few ingredients for this version of homemade St Germain liqueur.
- Elderflower heads
- Zest of a lemon
- Dry Vermouoth
- Sugar to make a simple syrup
How many elderflowers do you need?
For this liqueur recipe I used just 10 heads of elderflowers and 500ml of vodka.
For the lemon as you are using the zest you either want an unwaxed lemon or just remove the protective wax yourself.
Here’s how to remove that wax on citrus fruit; Simply wash the lemon in hot soapy water and scrub it with a nailbrush to remove the wax. Then rinse in cold water and pat dry with a clean tea towel – voila! an unwaxed lemon.
How to make elderflower liqueur
This is such an easy recipe to make. You are basically bringing the ingredients together into a jar and letting time do a bit of work for a week, then yoou step in again.
- First things first – pick over the elderflowers removing them from the stalks and shaking off dust and any stray insects that might be lurking.
- Pack the flowers into a clean jar and pour in the vodka and dry vermouth. Add the lemon zest to the jar and pop on the lid and give the whole thing a good shake.
- Set the jar aside in a cool dark cupboard for 1 week for the flavours to mingle and dance together. You will be the one mingling and dancing once you drink the resulting elderflower liqueur!
- Strain the infused booze through a sieve lined with either 2 layers of cheesecloth/muslin or kitchen paper.
- Now make a simple syrup by mixing 50g or sugar and 50ml of water and gently heating till the sugar dissolves and creates a light syrup.
- Mix the simle syrup with the elderflower infused alcohol and pour into a sterilised bottle.
That’s it folks, you’ve just nmade your own elderflower liqueur!
How much does this liqueur recipe make?
I just made 500ml of elderflower liqueur this time. Want more and have plenty of elderflowers? Then simply double up the recipe to suit yourself.
How long will this keep?
Your elderflower liqueur will keep for up to a year in a cool dark place.
How to serve elderflower liqueur
Serve this delicious liqueur chilled as a shot on it’s own. You can even chill the bottle of elderflower liqueur in the freeer first if you like.
Since it’s advent in 2007 St Germain liqueur has been nicknamed Bartender’s Ketchup as it is used in so many cocktails. From adding it to champagne or sparkling wine/cava/prosecco as an elderflower spritz to a whole host of fancy cocktails.
Use your eldeflower liqueur in baking and dessert recipes when the floral flavour of elderflowers is called for.
Looking for more delightful springtime foraging recipes to try? Then check these out before you go;
Finally, if you do try this recipe don’t forget to leave a comment/star rating below as I just love to hear from readers. Want more Larder Love? Then follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter and sign up for my newsletter too of course.
Homemade elderflower liqueur
- 10 elderflower heads
- 500 ml vodka
- 100 ml dry vermouth
- 1/2 lemon peel only
- 50 g sugar
- 50 ml water
- Carefully pick over the elderflowers to remove dust etc and put flowers in a clean jar along with vodka and dry vermouth
- peel the lemon and put half lemon peel into the jar and close. Shake well and set aside for a week in a cool dark cupboard
- pour the infused alcohol through a sieve lined with 2 layers of muslin/cheesecloth or kitchen roll
- make sugar syrup by heating the sugar and water till the sugar dissolves, cool and add to a sterilised bottle along with the elderflower infused alcohol and shake well