Elderflower season is an exciting but short lived time. Every year I try to find some way to preserve the elderflower harvest so that I can enjoy them for a longer period of time. I’ve been wanting to try making elderflower liqueur (also known as St. Germain) for some time now. This year the local elder trees were absolutely loaded with elderflowers, so I decided to make this delicious elderflower liqueur!
Elderflowers appear before elderberries, and they arrive anytime between May through July, depending on your location and climate.
It’s important to consider that elderflowers turn into elderberries, so taking them will mean fewer berries on the tree. This usually isn’t an issue as elder trees are widespread and very prolific.
Regardless, do try and only take a few flowers from each tree if possible.
Read my post on foraging elderflowers and elderberries to learn more.
Insects love elderflowers, so be sure to give the flowers a few shakes before using to remove them. It also helps to let them sit for an hour or two outside to let any remaining bugs vacate.
The leaves, stems, seeds, and unripe berries of elder are toxic when consumed in large amounts, so remember that when making any kind of elderflower or elderberry preparation.
How to Make Elderflower Liqueur
Depending on the size of the elderflowers you collect, you will need about 20-30 whole flower heads for this liqueur recipe.
Although it’s a bit labor intensive, it’s important to cut the flowers off with as little stem as possible attached. This is because the stems contain a toxic compound and can cause stomach upset in large amounts in some people.
If you don’t have access to fresh elderflowers, dried elderflowers can also be used, just use about half as much as fresh.
Fill a quart jar with the elderflowers, leaving an inch or two of space at the top.
Pour a 750ml bottle of vodka over the elderflowers, then top the jar with lemon slices to keep the flowers submerged under the vodka.
Cover the jar with a lid and put it in a cool and dark place to infuse for 2-4 weeks.
When ready to use, strain out the elderflowers with a fine mesh sieve, then add the optional honey or sugar and stir well or shake to combine.
The elderflower liqueur can be consumed right away, or aged longer if desired. It will keep indefinitely!
Elderflower Liqueur Cocktail Recipes
Can I tell you how amazing this elderflower liqueur is? It is so incredibly good, and it makes a great summer cocktail! I like to simply combine it with some sparkling mineral water, and in my opinion that’s all you really need.
If you want to get more fancy than that, here are some amazing sounding elderflower liqueur cocktail recipes to try:
- Elderflower Martini
- Elderflower Margarita
- Peach and Elderflower Sangria
- St. Germain Lavender Gin and Tonic
- Blackberry Elderflower Cocktail
Now you’re all set for summertime cocktail parties!
Enjoy the elderflower liqueur (I know you will)!
More Elderflower Recipes
Want to do more with your elderflower harvest? Here are 20+ Elderflower Recipes for cordial, liqueur, tea, jelly, cake + more!
- Cut the elderflowers off the stem into a quart sized jar until it is almost full.
- Pour the bottle of vodka over the elderflowers, then top with the slices of lemon to keep the flowers under the vodka.
- Cover the jar with a lid and put it in a cool and dark place for 2-4 weeks.
- Strain out the elderflowers with a fine mesh sieve, then add the optional honey or sugar and stir well or shake to combine.
- It can be consumed right away or aged longer if desired. It will keep indefinitely.