Elderflower or St. Germain is no stranger to bartenders or bar-goers. Not only is it consumed as a cocktail mix, but it is also regarded to have substantial importance in the healthcare industry for preparing medicines for colds, diabetes, joint pain, etc.
Even though the Elderflower liqueur is readily available, you can try other substitutes as well, just to bring something new to the table. Some of our favorites are St. Elder, Elderflower syrup, and Fruitlab Hibiscus liqueur.
But how should one use these substitutes? Is the alcohol content the same? What about the taste and aroma? All such questions will be answered, along with many more, in the following article.
Best Elderflower Liqueur Substitutes
To make the following article even more extensive, we have added alcoholic as well as non-alcoholic substitutes. This will help you select the one most suitable for your requirements.
1. St. Elder
Let us begin with our most preferred Elderflower liqueur substitute- St. Elder.
As suggested by the name, this liqueur is made from the natural extracts of fresh elderberry flowers. It is prepared in small batches to maintain the quality and integrity of the liqueur.
It has silky floral notes with sweet ripe stone fruit undertones. The alpine herb aroma and grapefruit notes will instantly refresh your senses.
Due to its sweet citrus and honey notes, you can prepare some delicious cocktails like Elderflower Martini, Irish Rogue, St. Elder Rita, and the classic St. Elder Mojito. You can also pair it with wine or beer.
This option is also cheaper than the Elderflower liqueur, making it accessible to all.
However, choose some other option if you do not like the idea of drinking something too syrupy or sweet.
Its alcohol content is 20% ABV.
2. Elderflower Syrup
Elderflower syrup is for those who want to make the best non-alcoholic drinks. Moreover, this syrup is incredibly versatile since it can be added to baked goods, desserts, yogurt, etc. It also works wonderfully well as a fresh fruit topping.
As evident from the name, Elderflower syrup is prepared from the elderberry blossoms. This floral and citrusy syrup is known by several names around the world, like Holunderblütensirup in Germany, Socata in Romania, etc.
Even though several brands like Monin and D’arbo sell syrup, you can make it at home as well. The process is simple and fun.
Begin by creating a simple syrup with water, lemon, sugar, and citric acid.
Heat the syrup and pour it over the elderflower blossoms. Mix well and steep the mixture.
Cover it up and let it sit for 2-3 days. Stir occasionally.
Strain the mixture and bottle it up. You can use a mesh strainer to do the needful.
This syrup has a shelf life of 1 year. However, once you open the bottle, it is best to use it within 2 weeks.
You can add this syrup to club soda to serve a refreshing beverage on a summer afternoon. You can also add it to heavy cream to create delicious dessert toppings.
In addition to that, you can also create sizzling cocktails by adding this syrup to white wine or vodka. It shall work as a delicious and aromatic aperitif.
Even if you buy this syrup from the market, it will not contain any amounts of alcohol.
3. Fruitlab Hibiscus Liqueur
The Fruitlab Hibiscus liqueur is a perfect addition to your summer parties. It helps create delicious juicy cocktails with their fruity aroma and floral taste.
It comes from the Greenbar Distillery, which is situated in downtown Los Angeles.
This liqueur consists of organic hibiscus flowers and California lemons. It also includes geranium, jasmine, tamarind, tea, and cane sugar with molasses-based spirit as the base.
This combination gives it a vivid hibiscus, rose, and blackberry flavor. In addition to that, it leaves you with a sweet-tart flavor with a juicy and zesty finish.
It has a deep-red color that works as an additional benefit in glamorizing your cocktails. Since it is made with less sugar, you need not worry about your drinks coming off as cheap syrups.
You can indulge in the goodness of hibiscus by making several types of cocktails like Hibiscus daiquiri or Hibiscus margarita.
If not, you can add it to wines, rum, tequila, etc. It effectively works as an aperitif.
Its alcohol content is 40% ABV.
4. Lychee Liqueur
If you have ever tried St. Germain even once, you know its lychee taste is unforgettable. If you want a liqueur to mimic that, we highly recommend trying lychee liqueur.
As the name suggests, it is made with lychee fruit through the process of distillation. Even though it originates from France and the Netherlands, this liqueur has left quite a mark on Asian cuisine.
Different brands present lychee liqueur in varying colors and flavors like peach, guava, citrus, etc. Such a wide range of colors and flavors will help you enhance your bartending skills at the next party.
You can try brands like Soho and Giffard for lychee liqueurs. With its unique taste, you can create a number of cocktails like Lychee Sparkler, Lychee Mango Frozen Daiquiri, Cherry Lychee Rum Cocktail, Lychee Vodka Martini, etc. These will surely wow your crowd.
You can also try combining the lychee liqueur with coconut, tangerine, citrus, melon, mango, rose, ginger, and lime.
Its alcohol content is 18-21% ABV.
5. JJ Whitley Elderflower Gin
If the aforementioned options are getting too light and breezy, and your heart is longing for a strong alcoholic drink, we recommend the JJ Whitley Elderflower Gin.
This elderflower gin is infused with elderflower, cinnamon, cape gooseberries, and a baobab tree. Its flavor is a mixture of sweetness and tanginess with a floral aroma. You’d also be able to smell hints of honey.
It works as an elegant substitute for elderflower liqueur. However, since this gin is power-packed, it is best to reduce the quantity.
The best way to serve JJ Whitley Elderflower Gin is by adding it to a large glass filled with ice. Top it off with tonic water and garnish it with a lemon wedge. It will make you a glass of a classic drink, something to remember the evening by!
Its alcohol content is 38.6% ABV.
6. Giffard Fleur de SureauSauvage
The Giffard Fleur de SureauSauvage is as enchanting as it sounds. This golden-yellow liqueur is made with lychee, saffron, and licorice to get varying notes of sweetness and spiciness.
The floral notes leave you longing for more, especially the undernotes of orange, honey, blossom, and green grass. You also get the essence of elderflower, making this a reliable substitute for the Elderflower liqueur.
You can use it to prepare several types of cocktails like Elderflower Sparkler, Elderflower-Scotch Sour, or simply prepare a cocktail with Giffard Fleur de SureauSauvage, lemon, gin, and strawberry.
Its alcohol content is 20% ABV.
7. Tempus Fugit Liqueur de Violettes
If you want to try something that doesn’t taste like elderflower, we have got you covered with that aspect as well.
The Tempus Fugit Liqueur de Violettes is a floral and aromatic liqueur made with a 19th-century French recipe. It uses violets and several other precious flowers cultivated in Côte d’Azur, the Mediterranean Sea. Since it is hand-harvested and made in batches, you get nothing less than exceptional quality in the bottle.
The floral aromatics will take over your mind and body while preparing cocktails with its violet color and unique low-sweet taste.
You can either serve it on the rocks or add it to champagne.
Apart from that, you can also use this liqueur for baking a cake or preparing truffles.
Its alcohol content is 22% ABV.
Are you taking a break from alcohol but missing the floral hints of liqueur? Well, you can enjoy the best of both worlds by using rosewater.
You can either get it from the supermarket or make it at home. The process is quite linear.
Since it is made with fresh rose petals, the sweet and floral aroma will certainly dominate. However, you can control that by adding it in moderation.
Amongst cocktails, our favorite is the rose water gin cocktail. It is a light and refreshing drink that doesn’t require many ingredients.
It does not contain alcohol.
9. Koval Jasmine Liqueur
The Koval Jasmine Liqueur provides a floral and earthy aroma. This liqueur has a certain depth to it since it contains white whiskey as its base.
It encaptures the beauty of jasmine flowers for preparing floral and aromatic cocktails. You can use it to prepare several types of cocktails, with Dear Malika being our number 1 recommendation.
Its alcohol content is 20% ABV.
10. Elderflower Lemonade
If you want a floral drink without getting hit with the punch of booze, we recommend trying Elderflower lemonade.
The recipe consists of only four ingredients- lemon, honey, water, and elderflower.
Take some hot water and add all the ingredients to it. Let it steep for a few hours.
Strain the syrup and mix it with cold water and lemon juice. Viola! Your lemonade is ready to be served.
You can also spice it up for a girl’s night out by mixing the lemonade with some vodka.
It does not contain alcohol.
11. Homemade Elderflower Liqueur
If you want to save some money, you can also try making Elderflower liqueur at home.
Before you ask, no, you need not be a master in mixology to prepare homemade Elderflower Liqueur. The process is explained as follows.
You’ll require sugar, vodka, lemon, and fresh elderflower. Dried elderflowers will also work. Just ensure that the leaves and stems are cut off.
Take a jar and all the ingredients except for the sugar. Seal it tight and place it in a dark place that is devoid of any direct sunlight. Shake it every day for 2 weeks.
Strain the liqueur in a different jar. Add sugar and a ½ cup of water to a saucepan and heat it until the sugar is completely dissolved.
Once it cools down, add to the liqueur and refrigerate it.
St. Elder vs. St. Germain: What’s The Difference?
St. Elder and St. Germain are often used interchangeably since both are elderflower liqueurs. But are they the same?
Most definitely not since they differ in terms of flavors and colors.
For starters, St. Elder might taste more like white grape than Elderflower, especially if you have an unrefined palate. On the other hand, St. Germain has hints of savoriness, along with other flavors.
Moreover, St. Elder will smell like alcohol and grapefruit, while St. Germain provides a blend of grapefruit, pear, and lychee.
Lastly, the cost of St. Germain is far, far more compared to St. Elder.
Hence, one should consider such differences while making a decision.
Do elderberries and elderflowers taste the same?
Elderberry and elderflower have certain similarities since they come from the same tree. The difference lies in the taste.
Elderberry has a sweet taste with hints of bitterness. On the other hand, elderflower has a floral and fruity taste with hints of lychee and pear.
How strong is elderflower liqueur?
Elderflower liqueur is a light cocktail that makes up a great addition to any modern bar. On average, its alcohol content is 20% ABV.
This also makes it easier to use to prepare light and breezy drinks and cocktails.
As versatile and iconic as Elderflower Liqueur is, its aforementioned substitutes will not dishearten the mixologist in you.
Go with Fruitlab Hibiscus Liqueur or JJ Whitley Elderflower Gin to create a hardcore drink. Contrarily, if you want to create a fun and relaxed cocktail, St. Elder and Lychee liqueur have our backing!
Milburn Adler is a food enthusiast and connoisseur of wine. His area of expertise is food fusions and gourmet foods. He lives to experiment with new recipes every day and spends most of his day looking for fresh and exotic fruits and vegetables.