Saturday, May 7, 2011


For a few fleeting moments in mid spring, the elder tree blossoms with huge umbels of starry white flowers. Throughout Europe, this richly fragrant aroma is traditionally preserved in cordials, a simple syrup accented with a variety of flavors. My friends in Switzerland have an elder tree that yields their annual holunderbluten mit zitronenmelisse, elderflower syrup with lemon and honey. In it's simplest form, this is a refreshing spring and summer cocktail with gin, or a splash of soda. The famous French liqueur St. Germain is an elderflower infusion great for many other cocktails.

It can also be used to infuse cream for desserts, from custards, sabayons and panna cotta, to parfaits and jellies that go well with rhubarb, strawberries and other seasonal delights. Do not apply heat to the flowers, which will lose much of their heady citrus aroma and become very bitter. Allow the time for a cold infusion, and then strain and enjoy.

1 comment:

  1. David - it is great to read this and I just had to run to the kitchen and get me a glass of this Holunderbl├╝ten mit Zitronenmelisse syrup. :-)

    Thank you for your alternative ideas on how to use this delicious product of my mom. I will for sure try it.