Fresh and Floral: Make Your Own Elderflower Cordial

elderflower cordial

Summery, sublimely sweet and refreshing with its hint of citrusy zest, elderflower cordial is the perfect drink for a sweltering summer day.

Foraging for elderflowers (which are the blossoms on elderberry trees) is a useful way to get some exploring time in on your vacation or day off, and provides a decadent and beautiful ingredient for our beverage of choice. The delicate white clusters of small, white flowers are gorgeously aromatic, and are easily snipped of a tree with a pair of clippers. When preparing your cordial, make sure to not soak the elderflowers, as they will lose their enticing fragrance. Instead shake them lightly to release any insects or dust, and quickly dip the heads in a bowl of cold water.

Makes about 3 quarts of cordial

20 medium to large elderflower heads
2 oranges, juice and zest
2 limes, juice and zest
2 oranges, juice and zest
10 cups organic sugar or 5 cups honey (or other sweetener)
¼ cup citric acid
2 quarts water, boiled and then cooled to room temperature

Boil the water and then set it aside to cool. After cleaning the flower heads, trim off as much stalk as possible and place them in a bowl.

Combine the sugar and water in a large saucepan or pot, bringing it to a boil so that the sugar dissolves. During this time you can zest and juice the citrus fruit and add it to the bowl with the flower heads.

Carefully pour the hot sugar water over the flower heads and citrus, and mix together with a large spoon. Gently stir the citric acid in evenly. Cover the bowl with a large kitchen towel and leave the mixture to infuse for 24 hours at room temperature.

The next day, strain the liquid through a colander lined with muslin or fine cheesecloth. Use a funnel to pour the cordial into clean, glass bottles. Wine bottles with airtight stoppers or clip top bottles work very well. Store the cordial in the refrigerator and dilute with water, sparkling water or prosecco to taste.

Image: Myrtle Glen Farm