elder 14c32

Raise a Toast to Spring With This Homemade DIY Elderflower Liqueur

by Alyson Brown

The elder tree, Sambucus nigra, is associated with folklore, superstition, and medicinal powers. Thought of as a protective tree, the elder was believed to keep evil spirits from entering the house. The elder is also associated with fortitude and strength, yet under its protective canopy of light and airy flowers, one might find a sense of inner peace. Elderflower liqueur, an alcoholic infusion of the tree’s honey-scented blossoms, may possibly be one of the most delightful flavors that I’ve ever come across. It’s floral, of course, but also lightly citrusy and tart. This homemade version is satisfyingly delicious.


1½ cups vodka
10 cups of fresh elderflower blossoms

½ cup sugar
½ cup water
1-inch piece of lemon peel 


Remove the elderflower blossoms from stems completely and allow them to wilt slightly. Add 4 cups of blossoms to the vodka, making sure that they’re fully submerged in the liquid. Cover and refrigerate overnight. 

Using a fine mesh strainer, strain the flowers from the vodka. Add 4 more cups of flowers to the vodka, and return to the fridge and allow to infuse again overnight. Pour the elderflower-infused vodka through a coffee filter to strain out any leftover debris. 

Over medium-low heat, cook the sugar, water, and remaining 2 cups of blossoms with the lemon peel until combined, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. Once the syrup has cooled, strain the solids. Then combine the elderflower syrup and elderflower-infused vodka in a sealable glass bottle and shake. For best flavor, allow the liqueur to rest for a minimum of 12 hours. Store at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 6 months. 

corina rainer xj8k190dWdg unsplash c379d

Important note: Elderberries in their raw state, as well as the leaves, bark, and stems from the elder tree, are toxic and should never be eaten. 

Under My Umbrella 

makes 1 drink 

It’s said that one can get lost in their thoughts under the umbrella of the elderflower tree. One sip of Under My Umbrella and suddenly it’s spring, with all its charm and delight. 

2 oz. reposado tequila
½ oz. elderflower liqueur (recipe, above)
½ oz. elderflower simple syrup (recipe, below)

¾ oz. lime juice
2 cups of ice
Coarse sea salt
Lime wheel 

Prepare your glass by rubbing the rim with a lime and coating it with salt. Place in the freezer until ready to use. In a blender, combine tequila, elderflower liqueur, simple syrup, lime juice, and ice. Blend well. Pour into your prepared glass and garnish with a lime wheel. 

Elderflower Simple Syrup

Combine ½ cup sugar and ½ cup water in a small pot and bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Once the sugar has dissolved completely and the syrup has thickened, remove from the heat. Add 1 cup fresh elderflower blossoms and a 1-inch piece of  lemon peel, cover, and steep for 30 minutes. Strain, and cool completely before using. Store in the refrigerator and use within 1 week.   

Adapted and reprinted with permission from The Flower-Infused Cocktail: Flowers, with a Twist by Alyson Brown. Published by Globe Pequot.

Top image: Courtesy of Alyson Brown

You may also like

Get the print magazine.

The best of BUST in your inbox!

Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter

About Us

Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

©2023 Street Media LLC.  All Right Reserved.