This Elderflower Gin and Tonic is a refreshing floral twist on a classic cocktail. It's such an easy and delicious summertime drink! The sweet and citrusy notes of elderflower pair beautifully with the botanical flavors of gin, while the bitter quinine in tonic water balances out the sweetness.
This twist on a classic Gin and Tonic features floral elderflower liqueur, which has a distinctive sweet and floral scent and flavor. It is like a mix of sweet honey, with notes of citrus and pear. It's such an easy cocktail recipe, you can throw it together to sip on in the backyard, or mix up a batch for a dinner party!
If you're looking for more elderflower, this Elderflower Gin Fizz is sooo tasty, and looks amazing too! For more easy recipes, try the simple and delicious Vodka Press, the springtime favorite Lavender Vodka Cocktail or the delicious Amaro Spritz.
All about Elderflowers
Elderflowers are the tiny white blossoms of the elder tree. The elder tree native to Europe is the one typically known for its flavor, but there are different varieties that grow worldwide. These edible flowers eventually turn into elderberries, but if harvested while in bloom, the flowers themselves have a fresh and tangy flavor.
The blooms have been used for centuries in European traditional medicine, but also to flavor syrups, cordials and, yes, liqueurs! The very first commercial elderflower liqueur, St Germain, didn't hit the market until 2007. Its iconic bottle gave it a boost in popularity, and now it's popular worldwide.
- Gin - I used The Botanist gin, which is a dry gin that also uses a wide variety of botanicals. A London dry gin is also great, as a more subtle gin might get overpowered by the elderflower. Tanqueray and Bombay Sapphire are great options.
- Elderflower liqueur - I used St Germain, which is a liqueur that is flavored with fresh elderflower blossoms. This liqueur is also known as “bartender’s ketchup”, because the flavor is so versatile and tastes great with so many other flavors. Other brands include St. Elder and Drillaud Elderflower.
- Tonic water - tonic provides both sweet and bitter flavors, along with bubbly carbonation. I used Fever Tree tonic water here, which is a great and flavorful option.
Here are some ways you can substitute the ingredients in this cocktail:
- Gin - if you aren't a fan of gin, vodka or tequila work great.
- Liqueur - you can use an elderflower syrup instead (I love d'arbo Elderflower Syrup). If you do, you may want to add a little more gin to the mix.
- Tonic - try your G&T with elderflower tonic water for an extra kick. You can also use just elderflower tonic, instead of the elderflower liqueur plus regular tonic. Some good brands of this are Fentiman's Elderflower or Fever Tree elderflower tonic.
Here are some variations on this recipe:
- Non-alcoholic - use d’arbo Elderflower syrup in place of the St Germain, and try out Monday zero alcohol gin in place of the gin.
- Keto Friendly - you'll need to omit the liqueur and use a capful of elderflower extract to create a keto version of this drink. Tonic water also has sugar, so you'll either need to find a diet tonic water in your local store, or try Top Hat keto tonic syrup along with plain seltzer.
- Spanish G&T - the signature of a Spanish style G&T is a lot of fruit! Try adding different types of citrus fruit slices, strawberries, juniper berries or fresh sprigs of mint or rosemary to give this drink a garden vibe.
- Empress Gin - Empress 1908 Gin is a great choice for this cocktail since it will make the finished cocktail a beautiful pink color. Perfect for Mother's Day, birthdays or any girls night!
There isn't too much equipment needed for this cocktail, making it really easy to prepare. You'll just need a jigger, a cocktail glass and a bar spoon or straw to stir the final drink. (And possibly a bottle opener, depending on your brand of tonic!)
I used a modern style white wine glass for this, but you could also use a tumbler or highball glass.
To prepare your lime wheel garnish, a cutting board and sharp knife will come in handy.
Start out by cutting a round wheel of fresh lime, and set it aside. Then fill your serving glass with ice.
Add in the gin and the liqueur.
Place the sliced lime on the inside of your glass, and top off the drink with tonic water.
Give it a gentle stir, then serve and enjoy!
Hint: Try cutting a lime wedge and squeezing in some fresh lime juice just before you pour in the tonic. While optional, I find that it cuts some of the sweetness of the liqueur and adds a bright and fresh flavor to the drink!
Frequently Asked Questions
Absolutely! If you do swap in syrup for the liqueur, you may want to add in a little more gin to make up for removing the liqueur.
Elderflowers have a sweet yet slightly tangy flavor, with hints of honey, pear and tropical fruits. There is a little bit of citrus flavor in there too. Overall, it's a bright and fresh flavor that is super versatile for cocktails.
Gin is commonly paired with elderflower, like in this recipe, since the botanicals in gin complement the bright and floral flavors. Other types of alcohol that would pair really well would be vodka, tequila blanco or sake.
Definitely try to chill all of the ingredients before mixing up this cocktail, including the glass! Just pop everything in the fridge for about 30 minutes, if it's not already cold. This will help keep the drink colder longer, and the ice will melt more slowly too.
Elderflower Gin and Tonic
- Cocktail jigger
- Cocktail serving glass (a wine glass or copa glass is great for this)
- Knife and cutting board (for garnish)
- Bar spoon (or teaspoon - just to give the drink a quick stir)
- Bottle opener (depending on which type of tonic you have!)
- 1 ½ ounces Gin
- ½ ounces Elderflower liqueur (I used St Germain)
- 4-5 ounces Tonic
- 1 slice lime (optional but recommended)
- Fill your serving glass with ice.
- Add in the gin and the liqueur.
- Add the lime slice to the inside of the glass, so that the ice holds it to the side of the glass.
- Next, pour in the tonic.
- Give it a gentle stir, and then serve.
- Optionally, cut a lime wedge and squeeze the juice into the drink before adding the tonic. This will cut some of the sweetness of the liqueur and gives it a nice fresh flavor.
- If you want the flavor of elderflower but don't have an elderflower liqueur, you can substitute in an elderflower syrup or an elderflower flavored tonic.
- Try using Empress 1908 Gin to add a beautiful pink color to this drink. The gin is indigo blue, but turns pink in the presence of acidity.