Elderflower Collins

This Elderflower Collins recipe is an adaptation of the Tom Collins using elderflower liqueur instead of simple syrup. That classic cocktail is essentially a bubbly alcoholic lemonade made with gin, lemon juice, simple syrup or sugar, and club soda.

Reach for this gin cocktail on hot summer evenings or any time you want a refreshing drink. So read on for all the tips and tricks, or hit that Jump to Recipe button and let’s make an Elderflower Tom Collins!

highball glass filled with ice and slightly golden bubbly liquid topped with an inch of deep purple liquid bordered by a bit of pink. The glass sits on two coasters next to a copper jigger.


a tall clear glass filled with ice and pale yellow liquid garnished with lemon wedge on a platter with a bottle of gin, a bottle of elderflower liqueur, and three lemons.

Elderflower liqueur

Elderflower liqueur is has a sweet, floral flavor with a nose like honeysuckle. You can sub in elderflower liqueur wherever a recipe calls for simple syrup. For example, if you like this elderflower gin cocktail, try subbing in elderflower liqueur in this French 75 recipe or strawberry gimlet.


Please see the recipe card below for complete information on ingredients and quantities.

Substitutions and variations

  • Substitute vodka for gin to make an Elderflower Vodka Collins.
  • Make dehydrated orange slices as a garnish for your Elderflower Collins.

Recipe tips and tricks

The layers in this Elderflower cocktail only work if you use Empress 1908 gin, because the botanicals in Empress gin include butterfly pea flower to give it the purple color. If you love purple, check out my other Empress cocktails like the lavender gimlet and the Lady Bridgerton cocktail.

How to layer cocktails

Tip from the wise quacker: you can layer any cocktail that has ingredients with different specific gravity. In this case, gin is less dense than the combination of elderflower liqueur, lemon juice, and water and will float on top until stirred.

The key to layering is to place a bar spoon so that the tip of the spoon is at the level of the liquid in the glass. Pour the top layer slowly and gently over the back of the spoon. You can also pour onto an ice cube if any are poking out of your cocktail.

a highball glass filled with layered cocktail that is clear on the bottom and purple on top with a purple striped straw, orange, and cherry.

Recipe FAQs

Are elderflower and elderberry the same?

Elderflower liqueur is made from the flower of certain species of elder (Sambucus nigra). Elderberries are the berries from elder bushes and can be used to make jams and jellies.

You might remember, “Your mother was a hamster and your father smells of elderberries!” Because elderberries are used to make wine, John Cleese is implying that the father is an alcoholic. Or something like that.

What is the difference between a highball and a Collins glass?

Both are tall, thin glasses, but the Collins glass typically holds a bit more volume (10 to 14 ounces versus 8 to 12 ounces).

Do I have to drink my Elderflower Tom Collins in a Collins glass?

No. There’s tradition, and then there’s what really matters. Just like with wine, as long as you’re not drinking your Aperol soda or your Elderflower Collins out of plastic, you’re not likely to be able to taste any difference. The idea that you need different glasses for wine is myth and marketing.

Love cocktails and want to explore more? Read all about classic cocktails and bartender basics or join this year’s 52 weeks of cocktails challenge!

Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-heart πŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œ rating in the recipe card below. Let me know how much you loved it, or any problems you had, in the comments section further down.


Elderflower Collins

5 from 1 vote
Category: Drinks
Cuisine: Unspecified
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1 drink
Calories: 255kcal
This Elderflower Collins is an adaptation of the Tom Collins. The Elderflower Collins leaves out the simple syrup and instead combines gin with elderflower liqueur. This elderflower gin cocktail is essentially an alcoholic lemonade, perfect for hot summer evenings or any time you want a refreshing drink.
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  • Cocktail shaker


  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1 ounce elderflower liqueur St. Germain, for example.
  • 1 ounce lemon juice
  • 4 ounces club soda or seltzer water
  • 1 slice orange or lemon optional for garnish
  • 1 maraschino cherry optional for garnish


  • If you want to layer Empress gin on top of the Collins, combine the elderflower liqueur, lemon juice, and club soda in a cocktail shaker and pour into an ice-filled glass.
    1 ounce elderflower liqueur, 1 ounce lemon juice, 4 ounces club soda or seltzer water
  • To float a layer of Empress gin, pour the gin slowly over an ice cube if any are sticking out of the liquid or the back of a bar spoon laid bottom side up on top of the ice cubes.
    2 ounces gin
  • Garnish with a lemon or orange wheel and a maraschino cherry (or a chive blossom, if you like). Drink with a compostable straw.
    1 slice orange or lemon, 1 maraschino cherry


If you do not want a separate gin layer in your Elderflower Collins, include the gin with the liqueur and lemon juice. Strain into a tall glass filled with ice and top with the club soda.


Calories: 255kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 57mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 35IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 1mg
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