Bitter Elder

Gin, Elderflower liqueur, Campari, Lemon juice
Shake, strain, straight up, cocktail
Delicious and only slightly bitter.
Cocktail resulted from a refinement of an unnamed cocktail using Aperol on Cocktail Chronicles. An anonymous commenter "amateurhour" created the cocktail. A similar comment a month later on confirms the recipe.
Cocktail summary
Created byAmateurHour, commenter on Oh and Cocktail Chronicales
AuthenticityAuthentic recipe
Posted by
Dan's picture
Dan on 06/06/2010
Quickstart CocktailsInnovative and Challenging Cocktails


Oh, fellas and ladies...this is one hellllllllllluvvva drink! Did it with Bombay, half Aperol half Campari. Awesome color, fantastic flava!

We have a restaurant here in Chicago called Parsons, they specialize in fried chicken and fish, and feature a totally fantastic Frozen Negroni. I'ma ask them if they'd consider putting a batch of these through their frosty machine! It'd be perfect.

12-04-2014...tried a further experiment, adding 3 drops of Brooklyn Hemispherical's Spicy Charred Pineapple bitters...Good Choice, accentuated the grapefruit notes even further.

Another batch, using Peychaud's, wasn't as successful, yielding a drink that lost the grapefruit and turned into more of a medicinal concoction.

Here's my take on this drink using the Campari/Aperol combo..

Lovely rose pink color with a very, very light nose that is gin forward with a touch of fruit sweetness from the Campari and Aperol - I’m somewhat stunned to not smell any of the St. Germaine. Sip is sweet and St. Germaine dominant on the front of the tongue while the midpalate sees the gin and its juniper notes come out immediately followed by the grapefruit-like bitterness from the Campari and Aperol. The back of the tongue and the swallow see that grapefruit profile grow stronger as the tart lemon juice develops. Amidst all these flavors the St. Germaine still darts in and out providing consistent sweet honey and lychee notes. The finish is pretty bitter with the most immediate flavor comparison being grapefruit juice with a hint of juniper and a good deal of elderflower. All in all, the grapefruit juice comparison is the most telling. Let’s say you were serving a customer at a bar and were thinking of something interesting to do for them with St. Germaine, or even trying to guide someone into drinking gin, and you asked them if they liked grapefruit juice, and they said yes, then you would no doubt have great success with this drink, however, if they say they don’t like grapefruit juice, then the chances are they will hate this drink.

Made this with half Cynar/half Luxardo Bitter in place of the Campari.
Holy crap was that good.

Dan's picture

For the bitter lover, the Bitter Elder works brilliantly using the inverted amaro template:
2 oz Campari
1 oz gin (ideally overproof & high juniper)
1/2 oz Elderflower liqueur
3/4 oz lemon (or lime)

Delicious. Tried with half Campari, half Aperol per the suggestion below and it's quite good. Lovely pink color and just slightly bitter. Very appealing.

I have finally found something nice with Campari in! Really like this drink and the flavour pairing in it. Delightful!

Dan's picture

Glad you like this. It is a favorite of mine for when I have a bottle of St Germaine open. You might also try a touch of Campari added to a Pegu Club. This was a drink that got my wife to like Campari.

Cocktailian's picture

I really agree w/ the rest of the commentators here: 50/50 on the campari & aperol. Awesome drink! So do we call that substitution a Bitter Elder #2?

Made it with cynar substituting for the campari and got a seriously good drink. I used Berkeley Square as the gin, which is quite herbal, so between that and the cynar this probably ended up significantly more herbal than the original recipe intends but it worked really well.

My friend Hugh summed it up, "This is everything a Cosmopolitan wants to be and everything it isn't."

christina in tacoma's picture

I like it with half aperol, half campari; with this change it is 5/5 stars for me

From other users

Made with Campari/Aperol split. Tastes like ruby red grapefruit juice. (5 stars)
Comments version is better: 2 oz Campari 1 oz gin (ideally overproof & high juniper) 1/2 oz Elderflower liqueur 3/4 oz lemon (or lime) (5 stars)
Pink. Slightly bitter. Appealing and delicious. (4 stars)
Good God, that's good! (5 stars)
Grapefruit juice, but not. (5 stars)
Subbed Cynar as I was out of Campari. Delicious and the grapefruit flavor on the finish is uncanny and excellent. (4 stars)
EGullet calls for .5 campari rather than .75 (5 stars)
Absolutely delicious. Made with Tanqueray. More Campari isn't bad -- 3/4 oz (5 stars)

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