Sunday, September 14, 2014

An Elderflower Drink

Funny how the new Ikea catalog arrived at our door just when we moved into our new house.  Were they thinking of us?  But really, the beauty of Ikea is that it's not just for furniture-poor; their affordable and modern Scandinavian wares are nearly impossible to resist.  On a recent visit, we racked up a few hundred dollars worth of this-and-that, mostly practical household items and the odd piece of furniture.  But the most exciting thing we bought that day was a bottle of elderflower juice concentrate.

The last time I had an elderflower drink was in Copenhagen.  We were there for two weeks during an unseasonably gorgeous spell of weather, and had no particular plans to do anything.  Copenhagen seems to be the perfect place to be when you don't have to really be anywhere, because somehow you're already exactly where you want to be.  Every part of the city is colourful, relaxed, interesting, and artistic.  We fell under its spell in no time.

We were visiting a friend, and she took us to a sweet little bar where we ordered elderflower ginger gin cocktails.  Later that day, we went to the neighborhood supermarket where she picked up a bottle of elderflower cordial with our groceries, and we ended up making elderflower drinks in her home.  All that to say that those tiny little white flowers have a special place in my heart.

If you were so inclined and knew of a nearby elder bush that was in bloom, you could make your own elderflower cordial in place of the store-bought concentrate.  Either way, I'm not sure I can think of any other drink that pairs better with a lazy, sunny afternoon.

Elderflower Ginger Fizz
Makes 8 drinks.

4" piece of ginger, peeled and sliced thinly
1 bottle of saft fläder (Ikea's elderflower drink concentrate), or other elderflower cordial
2L bottle of carbonated water
ice cubes

To make the ginger concentrate: place the sliced ginger into a saucepan and add enough water to cover the ginger well.  Place the saucepan on high heat, and once it boils, lower the heat to a simmer.  Cook for at least 30 minutes, stirring every so often, until the liquid turns yellow and cloudy.  Remove from heat and cool for at least an hour.  Strain and discard ginger pieces.  Pour the ginger concentrate into a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid, and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

To make the drink: fill a tall glass with ice.  Add 1 part ginger concentrate and 1 part elderflower concentrate to 5 parts carbonated water.  Stir well, and garnish with a slice of lemon.

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