Hogan’s Wild Elder

In terms of taste, elderflower might be associated with the spring or summer. But elderflower has also a wide range of health benefits, especially useful for this time of year. There is a solid scientific evidence that elderflower has antiviral & antibacterial effects and what’s more important it can boost the immune system. What I’m trying to say here is that if you’re looking for an excuse to drink cider with elderflower, just say it’s for your own good. This is why I put my hands on the Wild Elder from Hogan’s Cider.Company: Hogan’s Cider
Place of Origin: Alcester, Warwickshire, UK
Ingredients: English cider apple juice, water, sugar, elderflower cordial, carbon dioxide, malic acid, preservative: potassium metabisulphite (sulphites)
ABV: 4%
Package type: 500ml amber glass with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass or chalice glass

Appearance: pours a clear pale amber with a white head that quickly dissipates. Medium carbonation. Body is low to medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is very aromatic and smells sweetish, a bit syrupy and fruity of elderflower and grapefruit. Also, I can get herbal notes.

Taste: my first taste is medium sweet with a low acidity. Elderflower and a smoky note with a lingering light astringency on the mid-palate. The finish is dry and has notes of elderflower with a touch of grapefruit bitterness.

Overall: If you call a beverage a cider it should taste like one, right? As for the Wild Elder, it has no apple aromas at all. You can taste only the elderflower cordial that was added. Perhaps a note of grapefruit, smokiness and the tannin give you a hint that the base for the beverage is or might be cider. Leaving this fact behind, I must admit that I enjoyed having the Wild Elder. It’s fruity, refreshing and the taste is intense and lingering. Those who like their beverages (intentionally I’m not using the word cider) on the sweeter side or simply those who like elderflower are gonna love it. Have it with cheese or simply on its own to protect yourself from the cold weather. 4.5/6 

Availability: from their online shop. In the Netherlands from CiderCider. In Germany exclusively from Cider Kultur.

Price: Hogan’s Wild Elder was a sample provided by Cider Kultur.

Schwäbi Cider Holunderblüte

Making a syrup from Holunderblüten (German for elderflower) is still very common in Germany. I remember selling lots of citric acid in July that is required to make the elderflower syrup when I used to work in a pharmacy in Berlin. Since the flavour of elderflower is so popular in Germany, it should not be a surprise to anyone that Schwäbi released a cider flavoured with elderflower. Previously I’ve tried their Cider ApfelCompany: Juninger Fruchtsäfte
Place of Origin: Niederstotzingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Ingredients: apple cider, apple juice, water, sugar, natural elderflower flavour, carbon dioxide, sulphites
ABV: 2.5%
Package type: 330ml clear glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass or flute

Appearance: pours a clear golden with a tiny white fizz that is gone after a few seconds. Lightly sparkling. Medium body.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is strong with notes of pears, dried fruits incl. apricot, baked apples, and a hint of commercial apple juice. No traces of elderflower in the scent.

Taste: my first taste is extremely, syrupy sweet with a very low acidity to balance the sweetness. Notes of red and yellow apples, dried fruits, incl. apricot, pears, baked apples, some herbal notes of thyme and low astringency on the mid-palate. Finishes after 10 seconds with notes of pears.

Overall: after I recovered after the initial sugar high, I can tell the Schwäbi Holunderblüte is not for everyone. Those who prefer their cider syrupy sweet will be satisfied as it is a quality cider with pleasant flavours of apples, pears and dried fruits both in the scent and on the palate. But not elderflower. I was really looking for this flavour but without any luck. Still, I think it is a good alternative to commercial or industrial cider. Could go well as a dessert wine after meals served with sour fruits. 4/6

Availability: online in Germany from Ciderei.

Price: Schwäbi Cider Holunderblüte was a sample provided by Ciderei.

InCide Holunder

Actually, it was a cider tasting among friends that led to the creation of InCide Holunder (‘Holunder’ is German for ‘elder’) made by Julia and Aaron Schwegler located in Korb, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. After Aaron, who is actually a winemaker by profession, tried a number of average tasting ciders he has decided to make his own ‘Apfelmost’ from old apple trees that grew around the vineyard. Since the first batch received a very positive feedback from friends and guests visiting the vineyard, Aaron and his wife Julia decided to launch their InCide Holunder in 2015 commercially. Company: InCide Drinks e.K.
Place of Origin: Korb, Baden Württemberg, Germany
Ingredients: sparkling apple wine with elderflower syrup (12%)
ABV: 5.5%
Package type: 750ml clear glass bottle with screw cap
Recommended type of glass: flute or wine glass

Appearance: pours a clear pale golden with a white fizz that is gone after a few seconds. Low to medium artificial carbonation. Medium body.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is very aromatic and strong with notes of fresh blackcurrant fruits and leaves with gooseberries freshly picked from the garden. Also, some floral aromas incl. distant jasmine and elderflower.

Taste: it begins medium sweet with a low acidity of lemon. The mid-palate has a note of blackcurrant fruits and leaves, tastes lightly astringent with a lingering note of lemon powder candy and delicate herbal undertones.

Overall: if I hadn’t reviewed the label first, I would have never guessed that I was drinking a beverage made from apples with an addition of elderflower syrup. InCider Holunder has an extremely beautiful nose. It’s like sun-warmed blackcurrants picked up straight from the garden and trapped in a bottle. It has a brilliant aroma that you’ll certainly fall in love with. But I could get only faint hints of elderflower here. Not to mention any apple flavour (it’s a shame if you’re asking me). Taste wise the InCider Holunder has depth and a nice length and it was a real pleasure drinking it. But rather after the meal due to the medium level of sweetness than before as advertised (it’s like with dessert wine, it is to be served with dessert, not as an aperitif). On another note, I can very well imagine InCider as a great base for cocktails. But Julia has already thought about it –> check out InCide’s website for some summer cocktails recipes. Whether I would buy it again? Absolutely! Even though I couldn’t taste any apple here. 4/6 

Availability: only Southern Germany for now incl. Getränke Maisch in Gerlingen; Kö8 in Köngen, Getränke Ebinger GmbH in Großbottwar. Online from Weinhaus Kreuz or Perbaccowein,

Price: InCide Holunder was a sample provided by Julia from InCide Drinks.

Garden Cider Elderflower

If you have spare garden apples or other fruits and you don’t know what else to do with them (and you live in the UK), reach out to Ben and Will Filby from The Garden Cider Company. Since 2010 they have been making cider from the fruit, which otherwise would go to waste. I like the idea!Company: The Garden Cider Company
Place of Origin: Chiddingfold, Surrey, UK
Ingredients: various apple varieties with elderflower extract
ABV: 4%
Package type: 500ml clear glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass or snifter, white wine glass.

Appearance: pours a clear pale golden with no head. This cider is supposed to be still, but I would rather describe it as slightly sparkling. The body is syrupy.

Aroma/Nose: The nose is syrupy-sweet and floral with notes of rose, elderflower, barnyard and some green aromas.

Taste: My first taste is extremely sweet with no acidity to break the sweetness. The mid-palate tastes syrupy with a light smoky ham note and flavours of green apple flesh, elderflower and rose. The aftertaste is sweet and slightly astringent with no bitter taste.

Overall: In my opinion, this cider tastes average as it doesn’t have too much depth. Moreover, it’s far too sweet for my liking and has no acidity that could break the sweetness. This cider is for those of you, who have a sweet tooth. It would pair well with desserts made with sour fruits such as berries or oranges. Otherwise, you’ll not gonna like it as it’s just too sweet. 2.5/6 

Availability: through their online store.

Price: came with my Orchard Box cider subscription.