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 still uses whiskey as the base as well as Angostura bitters, but it calls for elderflower liqueur as the 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 cocktails.

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.

Simple Syrup: This is a sweetener made with sugar and water. You can buy bottled simple syrup in a store, but we made ours at home using Alex’s recipe because it tastes better fresh and is very easy to make.

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.

Lemon Twist: This is the garnish. It adds fresh citrus aroma and flavor.

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. A clear spirit such as gin is a much better choice.

Alex’s Take: ⭐⭐
“The original recipe for this drink featured only ½ oz of elderflower liqueur to balance out 2 ½ oz of bourbon, and even though I made it true to form at first, I knew it wouldn’t be balanced. Even after adding ¼ oz 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, especially bourbon, 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
 ¼ oz Homemade Simple Syrup
 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
 ¼ oz Homemade Simple Syrup
 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

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More Spring Cocktails

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

The Parasol: A sparkling wine cocktail made with lemon juice, Lillet Blanc, elderflower liqueur, honey syrup, and a lemon twist

 Mountaintop Meadow: A vodka cocktail made with elderflower liqueur, simple syrup, lavender bitters, dry sparkling wine, a pineapple wedge, and mint

 Final Say: A gin cocktail made with maraschino liqueur, crème de violette, lime juice, and a lime twist

 Golden Chrysanthemum: A brandy and sparkling wine cocktail made with pear liqueur, Suze, and a lemon twist

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