Bitter Elder

1 12 oz Gin
34 oz Elderflower liqueur, St. Germain
12 oz Campari
12 oz 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.
From other users
  • Absolutely delicious. Made with Tanqueray. More Campari isn't bad -- 3/4 oz — ☆☆☆☆☆
  • EGullet calls for .5 campari rather than .75 — ☆☆☆☆☆
  • Subbed Cynar as I was out of Campari. Delicious and the grapefruit flavor on the finish is uncanny and excellent. — ☆☆☆☆
  • Grapefruit juice, but not. — ☆☆☆☆☆
  • Good God, that's good! — ☆☆☆☆☆
  • Pink. Slightly bitter. Appealing and delicious. — ☆☆☆☆
  • Excellent! Made with .25 Aperol and .25 Campari as per comments. More interesting (to me), but somwhat similar to the Jasmine (RH) that J likes better. — ☆☆☆☆☆
  • Made with Campari/Aperol split. Tastes like ruby red grapefruit juice. — ☆☆☆☆☆
  • 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) — ☆☆☆☆☆
  • Strong, but not unpleasant, acidity. Absolutely calls grapefruit to mind. Will try variations with Aperol and Cynar. — ☆☆☆☆☆
  • Use equal parts campari and aperol 1/4 of each — ☆☆☆☆☆
  • yummy. Too much campari for R, but I like it — ☆☆☆☆
  • Tastes like grapefruit juice, but there is none in there. Very delicious, bitter, sour and not really sweet. — ☆☆☆☆☆
  • Beautiful colour! Definitely use a juniper forward London Dry for this one. — ☆☆☆☆
  • Wow. Fantastic cocktail. The degree to which this evokes grapefruit is, as other have suggested, uncanny. — ☆☆☆☆☆
  • Nice, slightly bitter, pretty well balanced. Sort of a grapefruit vibe, as mentioned. Very pretty pink-ish color. — ☆☆☆
  • Up Campari to .75 — ☆☆☆☆
  • Very balanced, very delicious! Added a little lemon garnish — ☆☆☆☆☆
  • Straight up pure grapefruit juice — ☆☆☆☆☆
  • grapefruit! — ☆☆☆☆☆
  • Went with the 0.25 Campari/0.25 Aperol split; excellent! In addition, Bitter Luxardo substituted for the Campari works well. — ☆☆☆☆☆
  • Yet to try
  • Try it with high quality blanco tequila - Don Julio for me - tastes fantastic. Added Crude Hibiscus bitters for a floral note since I didn’t use gin. — ☆☆☆☆
  • Did the aperol/campari split as suggested in the comments. that gave it great grapefruit notes. Garnished with lemon peel — ☆☆☆☆
  • try with 1/4 campari and 1/4 aperol
  • Excellent. Added 1/2 oz Campari and 1/2 oz brovo Amaro 14. Could play around with a few things but this one is quite good, with grapefruit flavors. — ☆☆☆☆☆
  • 1/2 Campari / 1/2 Aperol + 1d Grapefruit bitters — ☆☆☆☆
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Made it with cynar

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.

I have finally found

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

Glad you like this. It is a

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.

Delicious. Tried with half

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.

Cocktailian's picture

I really agree w/ the rest of

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?

For the bitter lover, the

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)

Made this with half

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

Here's my take on this drink

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.

mikejaz2's picture

Oh, fellas and ladies...this

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.

Mike Janowski
Cocktail fancier

mikejaz2's picture

12-04-2014...tried a further

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.

Mike Janowski
Cocktail fancier

mikejaz2's picture

Sorry, I'm gonna keep touting

Sorry, I'm gonna keep touting this's fantastic.  Made it for several friends, progeny and assorted drink enthusiasts...have received nothing but praise for it's restrained, sophisticated yet readily identifiable flavors.  Always use the charred pineapple bitters now, drink's color always gets mentioned.  A real winnah!

Mike Janowski
Cocktail fancier

I 2nd the comparison to ruby

I 2nd the comparison to ruby grapefruit. I'm fine with bitter, but this is a funny combo of bitter and acidic. Made with mediocre gin, so maybe botanicals save it. For the record I'm not a grapefruit fan, so maybe it's me, too.

Went with equal Campari and

Went with equal Campari and Elderflower (3/4 each) to 1 1/2 Sipsmith and 1/2 Lemon Juice so that the Bitter Elder has some bitterness.   Very nice drink!  

Really enjoyed this one.

Really enjoyed this one. Plymouth Gin. Used Aperol 1 for 1 in place of Campari, as I vastly prefer the former to the latter, and only keep one in house. Will make this one again for sure!