Elderflower Season


I decided to make some elderflower cordial for the first time this year. There has been no real reason why I’ve not done it before other than the fact that it hasn’t actually crossed my mind when the elder in blossom. I think I was more prepared this year because I was watching for the May flowers for my previous post and saw that the elder was later to bloom.

Anyway, one afternoon I decided to have a stroll around the gardens at Iscoyd Park where I’m the bar manager and pick some flowers to use. I took a clean bin liner and picked a fair few heads to be on the safe side.

I got around to making the cordial after 2 days, I filled a pan with the flowers and poured boiling water over them until they were completely submerged. I then put the lid on and left them to steep for 12 hours.

The next morning I set the gas and brought the liquid up to boil along with the zest of 2 oranges, 2 lemons and 2 limes as well as the juice of the oranges and limes. I then added 2 kilos of caster sugar, stirred it in and let it boil for 10 minutes.


Ably assisted by my apprentice, the cordial was left to cool and a spoonful of citric acid was added before being bottled. I managed to yield 2 large bottles of cordial and with the rest, I married it with some gin to make an Elderflower Gin Liqueur (I used The king of Soho Gin and it is amazing!) as well as a liqueur based on triple sec which I’m looking forward to incorporating into some cocktails.

One of my favourite cocktails I’ve created was made using Elderflower Cordial and used a very strong flavour combination of Elderflower, Cucumber and Sauvignon.

The drink has had a couple of revisions since I first came up with the idea. It originally featured on the Harvey Nichols menu and was named for a Playboy Playmate who was being used in the advertorials for Patron, the original choice of Tequila.

I then discovered the drink worked better with Porfidio Tequila and because there was no longer the link with Patron another name was needed so I chose Mayahuel. The drink went on to be named ‘Best Aperitif’ at the Drinks international Bartender’s Challenge that year (2004)

Mayahuel was the Aztec goddess of Mother Earth whose earthly representation was the Maguay – the plant from which pulque and later, Mezcal was made. She had 400 children who were represented as rabbits and she had many breasts with which to feed them. The rabbits signify drunkenness and in many latin cultures, where we in Britain would say we can see pink elephants, they claim to be seeing rabbits. The more rabbits you can see, the drunker you are (obviously!)

More recently, the Tequila has had another change to Altos Blanco quite simply because it is the best Tequila I’ve ever tasted and it suits the flavour profile for this drink perfectly with the vegetal and pepper notes just peaking at the right points in the drink. I’ve also just changed the wine from the original Champagne to Freeman’s Bay Marlborough Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc from Aldi. There’s a good chance that for many people the original choice may have to stay but today I tried it with the Freeman’s and it works so well.


Mayahuel Martini

5mm slice of cucumber

15ml Elderflower cordial (I highly recommend my own home-made version)

45ml Olmeca Altos Blanco Tequila

15ml Lemon Juice

50ml Freeman’s Marlborough Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc

In a mixing glass, muddle the cucumber in the elderflower cordial. Add the other ingredients except sparkling wine and double-strain into a chilled Martini glass.

Add the wine and stir gently.

Garnish with cucumber.

This is such a delicious and refreshing drink, it is absolutely perfect for the hot and humid weather we are experiencing at the moment – especially whilst the elderflowers are still in bloom.


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