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I’ve been known to make an impulse buy or three on Amazon, particularly between the hours of 9 p.m. and midnight, fueled by a deadly combination of boredom and wine. Very often I regret those purchases, but recently, one of them turned out to be a delightful discovery: Elderflower cordial, the ingredient all of my fall cocktails have been missing.
Belvoir Fruit Farm Elderflower Cordial, to be specific! Made from fresh-picked elderflowers and lemon juice, its subtle sweetness takes just about any beverage to a whole new level of tasty—from sparkling wine to seasonal cocktails.
Add a dash to prosecco and voilà—it’s instantly more interesting. Pour some into iced jasmine green tea to bring out the soft floral notes. Stir it into sangria for a fresh and fruity twist. TBH, any time you pour a drink that just needs a little extra *something*, that something is probably elderflower cordial.
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Some of my best creations with this stuff have been improvised: for instance, after pouring a glass of sauvignon blanc I didn’t particularly like, I found that a splash of elderflower cordial and seltzer was all it needed. On another occasion, I decided to use up some leftover bourbon by making a hot toddy with elderflower cordial, honey and lemon.
Elderflower cordial pairs particularly well with bubbles — specifically, I recommend trying it with Loire Valley wines, like Domaine Matignon’s Saumur Brut NV or Gratien & Meyer’s Cremant de Loire Brut, which have complementary flavors of honeysuckle, apple and pear.
Feel free to get creative with this concoction on your own—or, draw inspiration from the fall recipes below. And remember: A little elderflower cordial goes a long way. All you need for a single-serving bev is about a teaspoon to punch up the flavor!
On chilly November nights, warm up with this sweet and spicy spiked sipper. It’s the ideal late-night drink to enjoy while surfing Netflix under a cozy blanket on the couch—especially when paired with fried doughnuts or baked brie. Serves one.
- 1 cup apple cider
- 5 ounces spiced rum (I like Chairman’s Reserve Spiced Rum)
- 1 heaping teaspoon elderflower cordial
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Combine the apple cider, honey and elderflower cordial in a small saucepan, stirring over medium to low heat until hot.
- Add the rum to the pot and mix well before pouring the cider into a glass or mug.
- Garnish with a cinnamon stick.
- Note: You can also make this iced if you prefer! Just pour the cider, rum, honey and elderflower into a large pitcher, stir until well combined, add ice and garnish with diced apples soaked in lemon juice.
This crowd-pleasing batch cocktail is perfect for holiday parties and fall picnics—just don’t be surprised if the pitcher drains quickly. Serves four.
- 1 bottle dry white wine
- 1 Granny Smith apple, diced into cubes or cut into slices
- 4 figs sliced into rounds
- 3/4 cup frozen green grapes (optional)
- 2 tablespoons agave
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 heaping tablespoons elderflower cordial
- 4 sprigs of rosemary
- Toss the chopped or sliced apple with the lemon juice in a pitcher (this prevents the fruit from browning).
- Add the wine, figs, frozen grapes, agave and elderflower cordial, and stir gently to combine.
- Store the pitcher in the fridge and allow the fruit to soak overnight or for at least four hours.
- To serve, pour the sangria over ice and garnish with a sprig of rosemary.
Autumn is peak pear season, and this elegant drink uses elderflower cordial to highlight the fruit’s unique flavors. Savor it alongside a charcuterie board on a date night in or your next intimate gathering with friends. Serves one.
- 2 ounces pear vodka (unflavored vodka will do in a pinch)
- 2 tablespoons fresh pear juice or nectar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons elderflower cordial
- Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice.
- Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled martini glass.
- Optional: Garnish with a lemon wheel or skewered pear slices.