Whether you've been stalking the hedgerows of the great British countryside (see our foraging guide), or you've simply popped down to your corner shop, you should now be in possession of some elderflower cordial. It's elderflower season folks!
And while the pretty little white flower is perhaps one of the season's most versatile ingredients, lending itself to savoury dishes or sweet desserts, one of our favourite uses for it has to be in a cocktail.
Firstly, let's establish some ground rules. If you're going to experiment with elderflower in your drinks, you can afford to be brave. The delicate floral flavour is not a shouter - that is to say rather than be the dominant note in any cocktail, elderflower should instead sit somewhere in the background, marrying your other ingredients together or gently announcing itself as a refreshing after-taste.
Elderflower can take strong flavours, and while the obvious combinations of gin and vodka work well, you can also add elderflower to tequila, liqueurs such as Disaronno, sweet ciders, and even beer. Try adding a splash to a honey ale.
Starting with gin, and one reason the two ingredients provide the perfect combo is because the elderflower compliments the botanicals which can include orange or lemon peel, cinnamon and almonds. Remember and repeat at dinner parties.
GIN AND VODKA COCKTAILS
Now that the rain has stopped lashing against your window panes, and you've taken repossession of your garden, it seems apt to celebrate with the gin-based apple and elderflower cocktail. Developed by elderflower cordial makers, Bottlgreen, it includes lime juice, mint and cloudy apple juice. Serve it long and over-ice.
Vodka works well with elderflower and apple too. If you want something less sweet, try the elderflower cooler, a mix of elderflower cordial, vodka, soda water, topped with a wedge of lemon or apple.
If you're looking for something with a little 'zing' try combining elderflower cordial with some white rum, freshly squeezed lime juice and mint to create these simple but impressive elderflower and mint daiquiris.
And while we're on to the classics, add elderflower into your mojito for a cool, refreshing edge, with our elderflower mojito recipe.
There's something about elderflower that feels a little bit luxurious. So elderflower is great for creating flavoursome mocktails that genuinely feel like a treat.
The Belvoir Fruit Farms' elderflower fizz uses cloudy lemonade, pink grapefruit juice and lime juice. Or use apple juice, mint leaves, lime wedges and elderflower cordial to create this elderflower and apple mocktail.
Now you know what to do, all that's required is for the sun to keep shining as you fire up the BBQ or lay some smoked salmon on your best china, and head to the garden. Cheers!