Whiff of Spring: Peppercorn Gin and Elderflower Punch


Whiff Of Spring Elderflower Punch

It’s March. It’s getting warmer (in varying degrees) all across North America. Here in Los Angeles springtime came early, kicking El Niño from his little crib. The trees in my garden would have preferred that Punxsutawney Phil had missed seeing his shadow a bit longer, but facts are facts. Spring is in the air you smell it everywhere. Starting with this black peppercorn-infused gin elderflower punch I’m calling Whiff of Spring for the aromatic breath of sweet elderflower that flavors this springtime libation.

“How warm the sunshine is!” exclaimed a little bud on an elderberry twig. “Yes,” answered her twin sister, “I believe spring has come at last. How glad I am!” All the Year Round: A Nature Reader by Frances Lucia Strong and Martha Allen Lane (1896)

Elderflower Punch

There are two opposing forces in this lighthearted elderflower punch: sweetly etheral elderflower and the unexpected pungency of black peppercorns.  Black pepper may have more bite than you’d associate with spring, but  it’s always easier to appreciate the warm sunshine when there’s still a nip in the air. Black peppercorn-infused gin brings the nip to this elderflower punch.  GREG

peppercorn ginvelderflowerelderflower blooms

Whiff of Spring Punch

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Whiff Of Spring Punch


  • 14 ounce London dry gin
  • ¼ cup whole black peppercorns
  • 2 cup loosely packed fresh whole mint leaves (divided)
  • 8 ounce St-Germain elderflower liqueur
  • 8 ounce prosecco
  • 6 ounce guava nectar
  • 6 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 bunch nasturtium flowers (optional, as garnish)


Infuse the gin: Place gin and peppercorns into a large jar with a lid. Cover and store in a dark place at least 24 hours. Strain before using.

Make the decorative ice: Choose a 6 to 8 inch in diameter metal bowl. Fill with about 1-inch of water. Place in the freezer to freeze completely. Sprinkle 1-cup whole fresh mint leaves across the top of ice, top with another inch of water. Return to freezer to freeze completely.

Make the punch: Gently bruise the remaining 1-cup fresh whole mint leaves to release the oils. Add the mint along with all the remaining liquid ingredients to a 2 quart or larger punch bowl. Stir gently to combine.

To serve, un-mold the minted ice by running cold water over the bottom of the bowl; it should slip out easily. Float, rounded side up, in punch bowl. Garnish with nasturtium flowers (if using).

Elderflower photo appears courtesy of my editorial partnership with Shutterstock.