From the Alps to Your Apéritif

From the Alps to Your Apéritif

Cocktails made with elderflower

By Aïda Mollenkamp

Elderflower has gone from a little-known herbal remedy to a flavor embraced by bartenders, thanks to smart marketing by the importers of St-Germain elderflower liqueur. They’ve definitely fueled the trend, but you can get your flowery fix from pressé or syrup, too. The subtle yet complex flavor comes through in all these cocktails.

1. Elderflower Royale. This drink updates Humphrey Bogart’s classic Champagne Cocktail. The elderflower liqueur makes the cocktail slightly sweeter, but it looks just as charming in a coupe.

2. Gigi. The coquettish protagonist Gigi inspired this flirtatious drink made with pears, pear vodka, and pink champagne. It’s girlish in appearance and name, but deceptively stiff.

3. The Chunnel. A floral take on the Martini that looks like a Lemon Drop, the Chunnel combines Meyer lemons, gin, and elderflower liqueur.

4. Martinique. A Frenchified version of the Classic Daiquiri, the Martinique is sweet, tart, and the perfect poolside accompaniment—even if you’re only poolside in your mind.

5. Sophisticate. Cranberry juice’s tartness balances nicely with elderflower. This take on the Cosmo gives new life to the cocktail that fueled the Sex and the City era.

6. Bichon Frisé. The Greyhound isn’t the only cocktail named after a canine. Adding elderflower liqueur to the grapefruit-vodka libation cuts the tang of the grapefruit juice and makes the drink less mouth-puckering than a traditional Greyhound.

7. The Corsican. An homage to Corsica’s multinational roots, this drink combines French and Italian liqueurs in a way that is, like many things Corsican, unique and unclassifiable.

8. Girasol. This cocktail uses homemade saffron-cardamom bitters, but it’s worth the few days you have to wait. The yolk-hued bitters mix with amontillado sherry and elderflower liqueur for a sultry take on elderflower cocktails.

9. Elderflower Sidecar. With a simple splash of elderflower, the Sidecar enters the 21st century.

10. Angel’s Share. The small amount of liquor lost during distillation is called the angel’s share. The angels would be equally happy with this refreshing bourbon-and-pressé combination.

CHOW’s The Ten column appears every Tuesday.

Aïda Mollenkamp is a food editor at CHOW.