How to make elderflower gin

Elderflower gin has a subtle flowery flavour, soft, sweet and refreshing. Lucy McRobert shares her recipe for making this summery drink.

How to make elderflower gin. © Rostislav Sedlacek/Getty

Elderflowers are the taste of summer. The flowers, tiny, white and creamy, blossom in May and June, bringing hedgerows to life and attracting bees and butterflies to the sweet nectar.

Elderflower can be made into a cordial, which can be used to flavour lots of different drinks and desserts. Check out a recipe for elderflower cordial on BBC Countryfile Magazine‘s website. Elderflower gin goes well with a good-quality tonic water and lots of ice.

Make sure you’ve identified the elderflower correctly – don’t mistake it for other similar flower sprigs at this time of year.

Foraging for elderflower. © Michael Moeller/EyeEm/Getty
Foraging for elderflower. © Michael Moeller/EyeEm/Getty

They should hang in clusters from the branches of trees, with a flat-topped appearance. The flowers are best when they have just burst open. Look for creamy white flowers with a strong elderflower smell, rather than blooms that are going a bit brown around the edges.

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You Will Need

  • Gin (1 bottle)
  • Spare glass bottle - sterilised
  • Elderflower sprigs (5-8 sprigs per bottle)
  • Sugar
  • Lemon rind (A couple of strips for each bottle)

Step 1

Pour your gin into a glass bowl for safe-keeping. Shake off your elderflower sprigs to remove any bugs or dirt, then add them to both empty bottles.

Freshly picked elderflower should be shaken to remove dirt and bugs. © jordachelr/Getty
Freshly picked elderflower should be shaken to remove dirt and bugs. © jordachelr/Getty

Step 2

Add a couple of tablespoons of sugar and a couple of strips of lemon rind, then refill the bottles with gin. Shake to mix everything together.

Elderflowers and lemon. © gigello/Getty
Elderflowers and lemon. ©
gigello/Getty

Step 3

After about a week, the gin should take on a pale yellow colour. Taste, and if you’re happy with the flavour, strain through a muslin cloth.

Elderflower gin is great with good quality tonic water and ice © Sveta Zarzamora/Getty
Elderflower gin is great with good quality tonic water and ice. © Sveta Zarzamora/Getty

 

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Lucy McRobert is a communications manager at The Wildlife Trusts, and helped to set up the annual national campaign 30 Days Wild. She is a keen birder and cetacean-watcher, and believes that a wild life is a happier, healthier life.

Lucy McRobert

This is a recipe from 365 Days Wild, published by Harper Collins Publishers.

365 Days Wild by Lucy McRobert

Main image: © Rostislav Sedlacek/Getty