You will need:
A hot summers day.
20-30 Elderflower heads
Zest of 1 orange and 3 lemons
The juice of the lemon and oranges.
1tsp citric acid
1. Shake the flowers free of insects. A few will probably remain, but don’t be too concerned.
2. Zest the fruits and then juice them. Put the juice in an airtight container in the fridge and leave until tomorrow.
3. Put the flowers into a large bowl along with the citrus zest
4. Boil 1.5 litres of water and then add it to the bowl
5. Cover the mixture and leave it overnight
6. Pop some bottles into the oven at about 120oC or something. They stay there until the near end.
7. Strain the infusion through a jelly bag, bit of muslin or I guess a sieve would work if you don’t have the former. (Scald the bag/ muslin/ sieve to (sort of) sterilise.)
8. Pour the liquid into a preserving pan or large saucepan.
9. Add the citrus juice, citric acid and sugar. You don’t actually need the citric acid. I don’t know what difference it makes scientifically, but it seems to create a lighter taste and texture. That was the only difference I could tell.
10. Dissolve the sugar by heating the mix up slowly. It took me about 10-15 minutes to dissolve it.
11. Bring to a simmer, which for me took about 10 mins, but I’m sure you can do it faster if you are short on time.
12. Simmer for about 1-2 minutes.
13. Pour the cordial into sterilised bottles using a (sterilised/ scalded) funnel. Seal the bottles with sterilised lids/ corks/ swing tops/ whatever.
This batch is lighter and more subtle than ones I’ve made before. I think I prefer the lightness. It carries a bright taste of summer.
Technically it will keep for about a year. But this is not a winter drink. It’s too light, too gentle, too hazy a drink for the heavy full flavours of winter. I think it’s better to drink it all before the end of autumn, otherwise you might find that you’ll have some old fermenting bottles by the next season that you never got round to drinking. If you want the elderflower taste over winter, I’d say make some elderflower wine. It’s heavier texture and fuller taste is more suited to cold weather than the light haze of a summery cordial.
1. Dilute with some water/ fizzy water/ lemonade.
2. Dilute with water and pour into ice-lolly moulds. Freeze them. On a hot summers day lick ‘em.
3. Use to boost flavour to the elderflower biscuit recipe I will post up in the future.