Elderflower Old Fashioned

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Cocktail History

The Elderflower Old Fashioned is a spring cocktail of unknown origin that was included in a 2014 issue of Saveur, an online food, wine, and travel magazine. It’s a variation of the classic Old Fashioned that uses whiskey as the base as well as Angostura bitters, but it calls for elderflower liqueur as an additional sweetener.

Cocktail Ingredients

To make this cocktail, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Bourbon: This is the base spirit. We used Cedar Ridge Distillery’s Single Barrel Bourbon because it’s a high-proof spirit great for mixing in cocktails. For a mocktail version of this drink, try Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic American Malt in place of the bourbon.

Elderflower Liqueur: This is an alcoholic beverage made with a spirit and elderflower. We used Edinburgh Gin Distillery Elderflower Gin Liqueur because it’s high quality and has a fresh, floral aroma and taste. For a mocktail version of this drink, try elderflower syrup in place of the liqueur.

Simple Syrup: This is a sweetener made with white sugar and water. We made ours at home using Alex’s stovetop recipe.

Angostura Aromatic Bitters: This is a type of spirit infused with botanicals. They add more spice and complexity to the drink and tie the other flavors together. For a mocktail version of this drink, try All The Bitter Alcohol-Free Aromatic Bitters in place of the bitters.

Lemon Twist: This is the garnish. It adds fresh citrus aroma and flavor when dropped into the drink.

Tasting Notes

The Elderflower Old Fashioned features zesty lemon and bright floral notes on the nose and has a bourbon-heavy taste that has the unusual combination of whiskey’s rye spiciness and corn sweetness with an herbal elderflower accenting note and a finish that leaves the classic barrel-aged spirits characteristics behind.

Our Opinion of This Cocktail Recipe: While this was a fun variation and we appreciated what the creator was going for, neither of us felt that bourbon and elderflower were much of a match as far as cocktail ingredients go. A clear spirit such as gin is a much better choice with floral notes.

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Which of our palates is yours most like?
Find out if your palate is most similar to Alex’s or Kendall’s by answering five questions.

Take Our Quiz →

Alex’s Take: ⭐⭐
“The original recipe for this drink featured only half an ounce of elderflower liqueur to balance out two and a half ounces of bourbon, and even though I made it true to form at first, I knew it wouldn’t be balanced. Even after adding another fourth ounce of simple syrup the balance still wasn’t completely there, though it was better. The drink ended up tasting strongly of bourbon’s sweet yet spicy flavors with a hint of sweet elderflower, which is a pairing that honestly didn’t quite work in my head. I can’t say that I would ever combine whiskey, bourbon especially, with elderflower in my recipe creations, and this one sort of drives that home. While some simple syrup can bring balance, it can’t bring harmony to flavors.”

Kendall’s Take: ⭐
“I understand what its creator was going for here—a more floral variation of the classic. But I have to agree with Alex in that it just doesn’t work without more sweetness. I couldn’t even swallow my first sip when we tried the original recipe, and I’ve come to quite enjoy bourbon since we started tastings a couple of years ago. I do enjoy a floral cocktail, for sure, but this one wasn’t for me… as interesting as the combination was.”

Recipe

This cocktail recipe was adapted from an issue of Saveur magazine.

AuthorSaveur MagazinePrep Time5 minsRating

Ingredients
 2 oz Bourbon
 ½ oz Elderflower Liqueur
 3 dashes Angostura Aromatic Bitters
 1 Lemon Twist

Method
1

Add bourbon, elderflower liqueur, simple syrup, bitters, and ice to a mixing glass.

2

Stir for 30-45 seconds.

3

Strain into a lowball glass over a clear ice cube.

4

Garnish with lemon twist.

Ingredients

Ingredients
 2 oz Bourbon
 ½ oz Elderflower Liqueur
 3 dashes Angostura Aromatic Bitters
 1 Lemon Twist

Directions

Method
1

Add bourbon, elderflower liqueur, simple syrup, bitters, and ice to a mixing glass.

2

Stir for 30-45 seconds.

3

Strain into a lowball glass over a clear ice cube.

4

Garnish with lemon twist.

Elderflower Old Fashioned

Make It a Mocktail: Use Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic American Malt in place of the bourbon, elderflower syrup in place of the elderflower liqueur, and All The Bitter Alcohol-Free Aromatic Bitters in place of the bitters to try a booze-free version of this drink.

Tools & Glassware We Recommend

More Spring Cocktails

If you like this spring cocktail recipe, here are a few others we’ve tried that you may enjoy:

Tequila Honeysuckle Cocktail Recipe

Tequila Honeysuckle: A tequila cocktail made with honey syrup, lime juice, and a lime slice

The Cherry Blossom Cocktail Recipe

The Cherry Blossom: A sake and gin cocktail made with maraschino liqueur, grenadine, triple sec, lemon juice, and a cherry

Lavender Sour Cocktail Recipe

Lavender Sour: A gin cocktail made with lemon juice, Green Chartreuse, lavender syrup, egg white, and dried lavender buds

The Garden Rose Cocktail Recipe

The Garden Rose (Variation): A tequila and sparkling wine cocktail made with elderflower liqueur, strawberry syrup, lemon juice, rose water, and a strawberry rose

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