This elderflower Collins is an adaptation of a Tom Collins. It’s a classic cocktail is made with gin, lemon juice, simple syrup or sugar, and club soda.
The elderflower Collins subs elderflower liqueur for the simple syrup. It’s essentially an alcoholic lemonade, perfect for hot summer evenings or any time you want a refreshing drink.
Tips and tricks for this elderflower Collins recipe
About elderflower liqueur
Elderflower liqueur is made from the flower of certain species of elder (Sambucus nigra). The berries of elder bushes can also be used in jams and jellies.
You might recall the Monty Python insult, “Your mother was a hamster and your father smells of elderberries!” Because elderberries can be used in making wine, John Cleese implies that the father is an alcoholic. Or something like that.
You can make your own elderflower liqueur, but make sure that you know which subspecies you have, as not all can be used. You can sub in elderflower liqueur wherever a recipe calls for simple syrup. If you like the combination of elderflower liqueur and gin, try that substitution here in my French 75 recipe.
How to layer cocktails
You can layer a cocktail when the ingredients used have different specific gravity. In this case, gin is less dense than the combination of elderflower liqueur, lemon juice, and water and will therefore 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.
FAQs about this Elderflower Collins recipe
Both are tall, thin glasses, but the Collins glass typically holds a bit more volume (10 to 14 ounces versus 8 to 12 ounces).
No. There’s tradition, and then there’s what really matters. Just like with wine, as long as you’re not drinking 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.
Yes, then you would be making a Vodka Collins.
No, go ahead and do what feels right to you. But there a few things you shouldn’t do.
Check out other uglyducklingbakery cocktails and mocktails to see other tasty gin-based cocktails like the “Lady Bridgerton,” lavender gimlet, or rose French 75 (an Empress gin cocktails), the gin espresso martini, or the Negroni spritz.
- Cocktail shaker
- 2 ounces gin
- 1 ounce elderflower liqueur St. Germain, for example.
- 1 ounce lemon juice
- 2 ounces club soda or seltzer water
- 1 slice orange or lemon for garnish
- 1 maraschino cherry for garnish
- If you want to layer the gin on top of the Collins, shake the elderflower liqueur and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker with ice. If you do not want a separate gin layer, include the gin with the liqueur and lemon juice.1 ounce elderflower liqueur, 1 ounce lemon juice, 2 ounces gin
- Strain into a tall glass filled with ice and top with the club soda.2 ounces club soda or seltzer water
- To float a layer of Empress gin, pour the gin slowly over 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)1 slice orange or lemon, 1 maraschino cherry
This elderflower Collins recipe was originally published May 14, 2021. It was last updated on May 21, 2022.
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