Elderflower Lemonade (+ Vegan Option)

This tart and floral Elderflower Lemonade is a refreshing homemade drink that can be made alcoholic by adding a splash of gin or St. Germain.

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elderflower lemonade

This past weekend, Wyatt and I took a quick trip up to Chicago. It has been too long since we went there without a work assignment and to just wander around. The main highlight was hitting up the Green City Market which made me feel like a little kid in a candy store; it had the best homemade bread I’ve ever tasted, rows of beautiful flower bouquets, edible flowers galore (yes!), and any berry or green you could ever want (plus some you didn’t even realize existed). It really put our tiny town’s market to shame and I’m already wondering if it’s too ridiculous to move to a city just for their farmer’s market? I think not?

It’s no surprise that I have a thing for elderflower (I use the cordial constantly in cocktail recipes like this St. Germain Spritzer and this Garden Tonic) so when I stumbled upon the chance to purchase fresh elderflowers, I couldn’t pass them up. The white flowers are tiny but abundant and grow in large bunches. Most recipes I found for using it where to make a cordial; it sounds delicious but I didn’t want to seek out citric acid. So, instead, I went an easier route and created a simple syrup out of it that would still preserve its flavor but could be used for both non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks.

The simple syrup adds a floral additional to refreshing lemonade, which is the recipe I provide below but would also work wonders in a gin and tonic or vodka soda.

three plates of sugar, elderflower blossoms, and lemon slices

What is Elderflower?

Elderflower is the white blossom on an elderberry bush. Elderflower is a common ingredient in the UK and parts of Europe, and these delicate flowers are often made into a cordial. Elderflowers only bloom from May to June, so get your hands on some while you can!

What Does Elderflower Taste Like?

Elderflower tastes, well, quite floral. But it’s not a super strong flavor. Elderflower is delicate in flavor and pairs nicely with citrus. Even if you’re not a fan of floral flavors like rose or lavender, I encourage you to give elderflower a try. It’s nowhere near as strong!

What’s Needed for Elderflower Lemonade?

There are two key components to this elderflower drink recipe: the elderflower syrup and the freshly squeezed lemonade. Here’s what you’ll need to make this easy drink recipe:

  • Water
  • Honey
  • Elderflower bunches
  • Lemon juice
glass of elderflower lemonade garnished with elderflower blossoms and lemon slices

How to Make Elderflower Lemonade

The steps for this elderflower drink recipe are simple:

  1. Make the elderflower simple syrup.
  2. Let the simple syrup chill overnight, then strain and discard the elderflowers.
  3. Make the lemonade. Stir in all of the prepared simple syrup.
  4. Serve over ice and garnish with additional elderflowers and lemon slices, if desired.

Can I Prep Elderflower Lemonade in Advance?

Yes, the elderflower simple syrup can be made up to 48 hours in advance. I personally prefer serving the finished lemonade the day it’s made, but it’ll last a few days in the fridge.

glass of elderflower lemonade

Tips for Making Elderflower Lemonade

If you are making this for the 4th of July coming up, feel free to make a batch of the non-alcoholic recipe below and then also make a pitcher of the lemonade with a little St. Germain or gin (or both!) for the adults. You’ll have the fanciest drink at the cookout, no doubt!

I like my lemonade tart so I start with the simple syrup being the only sweetener and then leaving honey on the table so people can add more sweetener if they want it sweeter. You can also set out granulated sugar but I always have trouble with it dissolving so I prefer to stick with honey or agave nectar.

Please also note that you’ll want to replace the honey for agave in the recipe below if you’d like to make it vegan.

Want More Easy Drink Recipes?

Elderflower Lemonade
Prep Time
15 mins
Total Time
15 mins
This tart and floral Elderflower Lemonade is a refreshing homemade drink that can be made alcoholic by adding a splash of gin or St. Germain.
Course: Drink
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Keyword: elderflower, lemonade
Servings: 2 liters
Author: Shelly Westerhausen
For the simple syrup:
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup honey (use agave nectar to make vegan)
  • Flowers from 5-6 elderflower bunches
  • Juice from half a lemon
For the lemonade:
  • 10 lemons , juiced (+2 sliced for garnish)
  • 2 liters water (or 2 liter bottle of sparkling seltzer water)
  • Honey , for sweetening
To make the syrup:
  1. Bring the water, honey, elderflowers, and lemon juice to a boil in a small saucer.

  2. Once boiling and the honey has dissolved, remove from heat, cover, and let cool.

  3. Once cooled, place in a sealed container and refrigerate overnight. Strain and discard the elderflowers (or save them for garnish).

To make the lemonade:
  1. Juice the lemons using whatever method you would like and cut the garnish lemons into thin slices. In a large pitcher, stick the fresh lemon slices, lemon juice, water, and simple syrup. Adjust flavoring to your likening by adding more honey or agave syrup.

  2. Serve chilled over ice or with a shot of gin!
glass of elderflower lemonade surrounded by fresh elderflower blossoms and lemon slices


  • Considering The Radish
    June 29, 2016

    No, I don’t think it’s ridiculous to move to a city for their farmer’s market. Especially when you can make beautiful goodies like this from the things you find there.

  • valentina | sweet kabocha
    June 29, 2016

    You’ve just made me want to visit Chicago – moving in? not for me, too bad weather! Btw I would love to find elderflower <3

  • Alissa
    June 29, 2016

    You should totally move to Chicago…..

  • Jasmin
    July 1, 2016

    What a lovely drink. I always avoided elderflower drinks, while it had to much sugar… I will gladly try this recipe 🙂

  • kitsvalla
    July 1, 2016

    Honey is NOT vegan.
    Vegetarians can be so annoying

    • Shellywest
      July 15, 2016

      Hey, Kitsvalla! I titled this ‘with vegan option’ because the original recipe in not vegan but you can substitute agave nectar in for the honey if you’d like to make it vegan (as I mentioned in the intro paragraph). Such a bummer that you have such a negative outlook on vegetarians and I went ahead and made things a little less annoying for people like you that prefer to comment before reading the whole post by adding a note about it in the recipe instructions as well. Hope that helps!

      • kitsvalla
        June 17, 2017

        Any vegan already knows how to substitute sweeteners. Obviously I did read the post. Vegan option is NOT the same as titling something vegan only to get more hits.

        • Shar
          June 9, 2019

          If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

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  • Sharon
    June 9, 2019

    I have a huge Elderberry tree in my front yard that has pink flowers and dark purple leaves. I make elderflower simple syrup every year. It’s the most beautiful color and taste. The smell from the flowers stay with the syrup also.
    Last year I infused honey with the flowers. It was a glorious mess!

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