A few things to know about elderflower: It’s dainty and beautiful, and smells a bit like cloves. When used as an extract in skincare, it helps defend against environmental damage — that’s why it’s in our best-selling PURE PLUSH Gentle Deep Cleansing Foam. It’s the (subtle) star ingredient in this summer cocktail, made exclusively for us by Jane Coxwell, our favorite NYC-based chef.
You think of heavy sweetness with elderflower but this cocktail takes a dash of the cordial, balancing it with the cucumber so it just adds a botanical element. I’ve done this recipe with vodka, but if you prefer, you can switch this out for tequila or gin, or omit the alcohol entirely for a super refreshing summer drink.
It takes about 2 seconds to make a cocktail look elevated and beautiful by dressing it up with the shavings of a citrus fruit or cucumber — just use a regular vegetable peeler, then line the side of a clear glass. If you’re having friends over you can make this in a big pitcher with the peels at the bottom and a sprig of fresh mint on each glass.
Elderflower and Cucumber Cocktail
2 shots vodka (tequila and gin both make good substitutions)
1 shot elderflower cordial – I like Belvoir Fruit Farms
2 baby cucumbers
A sprig of fresh mint, plus more for garnish
Fresh elderflower for garnish (optional)
- In a cocktail shaker, muddle the cucumber, mint and vodka together.
- Next, add the juice of a lime and the elderflower cordial, plus a small handful of ice. Give it a good shake, and strain into a glass.
- Top up with a little soda water — this amount depends on how strong you’d like the drink.
- Garnish with cucumber slices or ribbons, fresh mint leaves and a sprig of fresh elderflower if you can find it.
Jane Coxwell is a chef, author and consultant, and has earned her reputation as one of the most sought-after private chefs with a style that’s as elegant as it is unpretentious.
Equally comfortable working over open fires on the beaches of Papua New Guinea as she is in the kitchens of the biggest names in fashion, media and entertainment, Jane has cooked her way around the world, cultivating an approach to food and travel that is uniquely her own.
Born in Zimbabwe and raised in South Africa, Jane was one of the youngest chefs ever appointed to run the kitchen of a Camper & Nicholsons yacht. At just 23, she joined Hall Wines in California’s Napa Valley as Executive Chef and Culinary Manager, where she cooked for prominent guests including Hillary Clinton. For the last near-decade, Jane has served as Diane von Furstenberg’s chef, both on Eos, the 305-foot sailing yacht she and Barry Diller own, and in New York and Connecticut.
Her experiences on and off Eos — ranging from meals in the villages of Southeast Asia to the vibrant open-air markets of the Italian Riviera — inspired her first book, Fresh, Happy, Tasty: An Adventure in 100 Recipes. Now based in New York City, Jane continues to develop food-and travel-centric content while working on her second book. She also consults for large events, including the creation of the first sustainable meal for the 2017 CFDA Awards.