Elderflower champagne

The elderflowers are just starting to come out and will be around the whole of June. It’s one of our commonest hedgerow shrubs, so it can spare a few flower heads for you to make this delicious summertime drink.

There are lots of recipes that you can adapt to your taste.  Here’s a basic one, but don’t worry about being too precise with quantities.

Ingredients

5 litres water

6 heads of elderflower

2 lemons

750g sugar

2 tablespoons of vinegar (cider or white wine)

You’ll also need a clean bucket for fermenting and bottles.

Method

Pick the elderflowers when it’s sunny and they’re young.

Put the sugar in the bucket and pour on about 2 litres (a kettle) of boiling water to dissolve it.  Add the remaining 3 litres of cold water.

Add the sliced lemons and the vinegar.

Give the flower heads a shake to remove the insect life, but do not wash them. 

Remove the large green stalks and put the flowers in the water – it’s their natural yeasts that will make it fizzy.

Cover with a clean cloth and leave for 48 hours.

Strain the liquid through a sieve or muslin into the bottles.  Screw on the caps and leave at room temperature for about 2 weeks.

Refrigerate and drink.

 

Notes

The drink is very mildly alcoholic.

Smell your elderflowers before picking them as some can have a distinct note of cat pee!

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