Serious Eats: Recipes

DIY Elderflower Cordial

[Photograph: Liam Boylan]

Elderflower cordial perks up a drink by adding a little sweetness and a light floral touch. For less than a dollar, you can make a delicious elderflower mixer that tastes a bit like a lemon bar mixed with a light, floral tea.

If you like, use oranges or grapefruit instead of lemons, or substitute honey or agave nectar for the sugar. This mixture is concentrated and non-alcoholic, but you can combine it with vodka or pear eau de vie for an impromptu liqueur.

Note: Dried elderflowers can be found in many Latin grocery stores. Some homebrew and winemaking shops carry them as well. If you have access to fresh elderflower blossoms, do not dry them, as they will produce a more fragrant and delicate cordial when used fresh. You will, however, have to use at least twice as much by volume. Be sure to pick them when they smell fresh rather than when they start to yellow on the plant.

Citric acid powder, also known as sour salt, is easy to find at many markets, but you can order it online from Amazon, too. It not only boosts the acidity of the cordial, but it also acts as a preservative. Meyer lemons can be found in high end grocery stores during the winter citrus season. If not available, half a regular lemon and half an orange can be used in the place of one Meyer lemon.

About the Author: Marcia Simmons is the author of DIY Cocktails: A Simple Guide to Creating Your Own Signature Drinks. She also shares cocktail recipes and tips on the DIY Cocktails blog and on Twitter @DIYCocktails.

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