Each year will wait with eager anticipation for the Elderflowers to bloom. For me these wonderful fragrant flowers mark the beginning of summer and making the most of them is a family affair. The kids love to make cordial - one especial likes some in some ice tea. For me I like the tiny bubbles of elderflower champagne. Drink it cold as a perfect summer cooler, use it to make cocktails or make it into a jelly with fresh flowers suspended inside as a posh adult jelly.
One word of warning it is fizzy! Use plastic bottles for fizzy drinks or champagne quality glass bottles - you don't want the bottles exploding! Chill well before opening to limit the over fizz.
The flowers are best picked on a warm sunny day when their fragrance is at its best. Pick and make as soon as possible. Choose flowers that are at their prime and not turning brown at all.
- 5l water
- 1/2 dozen heads of flowers (shake gently upside down to remove any little critters)
- 740g sugar
- 2 tbs apple cider vinegar
- 2 lemons cut into slices
- sterilize a pot or bucket that can hold 4l and also your bottles so they are ready. Once the bottles are dry put the tops on until ready for bottling.
- place the flower heads and lemons into your pan and pour over the water.
- Cover your pan with a lid of tea towel, leave for 24 hours
- strain the liquid through a muslin lined colander and then pour back into your bucket.
- add in the sugar and vinegar.
- Pour into your bottles and put the tops on but don't screw on tight
- Leave the bottles aside for a couple of days and check every now and the for tiny bubbles appearing - now we are making elderflower champagne!
- Leave for one week, when the bubbles slowed right down screw the caps tight.
- Leave about another week for it to get fizzy. I recommend you give the bottles a squeeze every now and then to check how firm they have become. Once firm - chill. Or store somewhere cool.
The longer you leave it the dryer it gets but it is best drunk with in the first couple of months.