I posted during the summer about my forays into making elderflower liqueur
. Since then the macerated vodka has been sitting on a shelf waiting for me to pay some attention to it and turn it into a liqueur. I had nearly a wine bottle full of elderflower vodka and a small bottle of St.-Germain to compare and contrast with my creation.
At the onset the macerated elderflower vodka that I made has a dankness to it, a very green note, one that would lock with clary sage, or lavender absolute. At first I thought it was a honeyed note that was missing so I sweetened a small batch with Lancaster County, PA, honey. The dankness in the honey locked with that of the elderflower so that experiment was set aside.
The second experiment I sweetened with white sugar. In the past I've used raw cane crystals instead of sugar but they add a slight mollasses flavor to the brew, as well as an unpleasant dark colored slimy layer that floats to the top of the bottle as it clarifies. I'm hoping for a better result with white sugar.
After doing a bit more research in elderflower liqueur I noticed that most of the recipes call for lemons or lemon rinds during maceration, often recommending meyer lemons. Last winter I made meyer lemon vodka so I did a little tweaking with it. I also took a look at my collection of perfume oils and decided on four notes to be added; yuzu, wild sweet orange, neroli and peru balsam. I made 10% solutions of each oil and added them one or two drops at a time.
Also in my research I learned that most people make an elderflower syrup and then add alcohol to produce a liqueur. I confirmed this yesterday with a Swiss friend who explained to me how this was done in her country. Some of the recipes
I read also called for fresh lemon balm.
Many trials later I've come up with something I think is truly worth sipping. I even "fixed" the first and second versions and bottled them separately. The recipe is a little rough but I think I have a much firmer idea of how to proceed next season. In the meantime I think a cocktail of elderflower liqueur and champagne would be perfect for the holidays.
1/8 cup meyer lemon vodka
scant 3/4 cup sugar
5/8 cups water
13 drops yuzu dilution, 10%
15 drops peru balsam dilution, 10%
4 drops neroli bigarade dilution, 10%
6 drops wild sweet orange dilution, !0%