The Tom Collins stands right behind the martini (and possibly the gimlet) as one of the most famous and classic gin cocktails. Much like the martini, there are nearly limitless variations of the Collins. Some of this is because of the ingredients, while other drinks receive the name because of the Collins. The elderflower Collins is a take on the Tom Collins, only it takes advantage of the elderflower cordial. The mixture of gin and elderflower offers a refreshing combination that isn’t replicated any other way. So if you’re a fan of botanical cocktails, the elderflower Collins is a must.
To understand the elderflower Collins it is important to understand the cordial itself. The cordial itself is not alcoholic. It is actually a soft drink made from the combination of refined sugar and water taken from elderberries, which is native to Europe. Essentially it is a simple syrup variation with floral tones.
There are a number of elderflower cordials available, so you should be able to find one at a local liquor store. However, if you can’t, it is possible to make the elderflower cordial yourself (more on this later).
Elderflower Collins - The Perfect Classic Recipe
Outside of the elderflower cordial, everything else should be easy to track down. The ingredients you’ll need to make the cocktail include:
- 50ml Gin
- 15ml Elderflower cordial
- Limonata (such as San Pellegrino)
- 2 lemon wedges
- 1 mint sprig
- 1 lemon slice
To make the elderflower Collins, squeeze the two lemon wedges into a Collins glass, then fill it with ice. Now, pour in the gin and the elderflower cordial. Add the limonata over top. Slap the mint against your skin (this opens the mint up and allows it to release its flavor without damaging the mint) and insert it into the drink (you can push it down into the cocktail with a straw or mixer), then complete the garnish with a lemon slice.
Limonatais basically an Italian lemonade, so if you’re not able to find limonata at a grocery or large liquor store you should look for a carbonated lemonade. It is possible to use a non-carbonated option, but the bubbles do help with the cocktail.
If you are unable to find an elderflower cordial you can make it at home (or you may simply like the flavor of a homemade cordial over something purchased at the store). To make the elderflower cordial you’ll need:
- 2.5kgof white sugar (granulated works fine)
- 2 unwaxed lemons
- 20 fresh elderflower heads
- 85gcitric acid
With everything on hand add 1.5 liters of water into a saucepan and combine the sugar. Gently heat the water, allowing the sugar to reduce. You don’t want to go too high on the heat as it will burn the sugar. Once the sugar has dissolved zest the unwaxed lemons, then slice the two lemons into rounds.
After the sugar has dissolved, increase the temperature of the simple syrup to a boil, then turn off the heat. Fill a large bowl with water, then dunk the flowers. This helps open up the flower while removing dirt and any bugs that might be stuck within the flower. Now add the flowers, the zest, the sliced lemons, and the citric acid to the sugar. Let the pan sit for 24 hours. Pour into a container and you now have the elderflower cordial. If you want you can leave the flowers and lemons inside the cordial. The cordial will take on a stronger taste if this is of interest to you.
Elderflower Collins Nutrition Facts
The elderflower Collins will vary somewhat with its nutritional information based on the kind of limonata you use (or if you use a sparkling lemonade). So keep in mind the amount of sugar and carbs may fluctuate. In general, the average elderflower Collins will have:
- 172 Calories
- 0.05g Total fat
- 0mg Cholesterol
- 4g Carbs
Best Gin For a Elderflower Collins
You have two options for how you want your elderflower Collins to taste. First, do you want the elderflower to become the main flavor note of the cocktail, or would you rather have it blendwith that of the gin? If you want the elderflower to be the focal point, you’ll want the gin to have a reduced flavor profile. In this case, Beefeater is something that will work well for you. It has a mild juniper taste and is more botanical, which blends well with the elderflower.
Now, if you want something to work with the elderflower without taking a backseat, there are a few other gins to consider. Plymouth is a great gin as it has both earthy and citrus notes to it. If you want more of a juniper burst to it, Hendrick’s is a classic that will work well. Nolet’sSilver is a dry gin that itself uses some rose and citrus within the distilling process. You may find the rose to overpower the elderflower a bit, or you may find it might compliment it perfectly. It is a bit of a drinker’s preference, but Nolet’s can work well.
Elderflower Collins Variations
The elderflower Collins is itself a variation of the Tom Collins. Likewise, there will be some variations of the elderflower Collins. Now, all of these variants will include elderflower in some way (without elderflower the cocktail becomes a variant of the Tom Collins instead). However, each of these are worth checking out.
- Cucumber and Elderflower Collins
When it comes to refreshing cocktails it is difficult to find anything that’s more refreshing than the combination of cucumber and gin. Cucumber adds a clean taste to it that is unmatched, o by bringing it into the elderflower Collins cocktail you’ll take this drink to a completely different level. With this cocktail you’ll want to use soda water instead of limonata, otherwise, the lemon will overtake the cucumber. As long as you do this, the cucumber and elderflower Collins is a fantastically refreshing spring and summer cocktail (or whenever you want a refreshing gin drink).See More
- Apple and Elderflower Collins
This is a non-carbonated version that brings a hint of apple to the apple and elderflower Collins cocktail. The beauty of gin is just her versatile it is without giving up its own flavor. Unlike vodka, which doesn’t have any real flavor, every gin brand is itself unique and allows for all kinds of experimentation. This is what allows you to bring apple into the mix here. Ideally, you’ll want a slightly cloudy apple juice. If you’re feeling like really experimenting you can try an apple cider as well, which brings in some tartness to the cocktail (but only go with the apple cider if you’re able to find a fresh option, otherwise the non-fresh cider usually is packed with sugar that takes away from the sour-tart flavor).See More
- Grapefruit and Elderflower Collins
The grapefruit and elderflower Collins brings the freshness of grapefruit and grapefruit juice to give this cocktail a tart and refreshing burst. Grapefruit blends beautifully with gin, especially if you enjoy a juniper strong option. One of the other differences here is that it uses not only an elderflower cordial but an elderflower liqueur. You can swap the gin out for the elderflower liqueur, or you can blend the two together.See More
- Peach and Elderflower Collins
This is a fun variation of the elderflower Collins. It is a great chilled drink, which makes it perfect if you’re looking for a poolside cocktail that’s both cold and refreshing. With this cocktail, you’ll still use your gin of choice and elderflower cordial. However, instead of the lemonade or limonata, you’ll want to use a peach puree. Thick thickens the drink just a bit while giving it a burst of peach. It is recommended to only use fresh (or frozen) peaches and don’t opt for peach cocktails. Peach cocktails or beverages tend to have a false, overly sweet taste to it. That will overpower and weigh down the clean, refreshing aroma of the elderflower and gin. As long as you stay with the authentic peach, you’ll be good to go with the peach and elderflowerCollins.See More
- Raspberry Collins
This is a great elderflower Collins recipe if you’re a raspberry fan. There are some recipe versions of this that take the elderflower out, but in those instances, the cocktail becomes a Tom Collins variant and not an elderflower Collins variant. With this particular cocktail you’ll want to use a mild gin, such as a Beefeater, otherwise, the gin and the raspberry will compete for attention. As long as you stick with the mild gin in the raspberry elderflower Collins you’ll enjoy the clean taste of the cocktail.See More
- Lemongrass Collins
Lemongrass is an underutilized flavor that brings a burst of freshness without using an overpowering lemon taste to it. This cocktail has a bit of an East Asian flair to it. If you want to go with the Tom Collins variation, you’ll remove the elderflower and focus on lemongrass. However, the lemongrass does blend well with the floral aroma and taste of elderflower. In these instances, you’ll want to remove the lemonade aspect, go with soda water, and bring the lemongrass and elderflower together. Both the earthy, juniper taste goes well, as does the clean, mild gins. So go with what you enjoy the most here with the lemongrass elderflower Collins.See More