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.
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 St. Germain Spritzer and 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 it’s 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. 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.
Elderflower Lemonade recipe below:
- 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 of water OR 2 liter bottle of sparkling seltzer water
- Honey , for sweetening
To make the syrup: Bring the water, honey, elderflowers, and lemon juice to a boil in a small saucer. Once boiling and the honey has dissolved, remove from heat, cover, and let cool. Once cooled, place in a sealed container and refrigerate overnight. Strain and discard the elderflowers (or save them for garnish).
To make the lemonade: Juice the lemons 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.
Serve chilled over ice or with a shot of gin!