Whoopee! It’s Elderflower Time

The weather may still be lousy but there’s one sure sign that summer is on the way! The Elder trees have just come into blossom and the race is on to make the most of their tantalisingly scented delicate flowers. Homemade Elderflower Cordial is one of summer’s most refreshing treats. It makes a delicate soft drink when diluted with soda water and livens up a gin based cocktail with a gentle zing.

Once you spot one Elder tree you will begin to recognise them everywhere. Look out for large umbrella shaped bunches of tiny, delicate cream coloured flowers. Be sure to pick from trees that are well away from traffic.

You will also need citric acid for this recipe and your local home brew specialist or chemist will stock it. If you can’t get hold of citric acid you can double the amount of lemon juice in the recipe but the cordial will not keep as long.

Naturally there is a downside to everything: once you have tasted this cordial you will find the mass produced variety distinctly lacking aroma and flavour. Elderflower Cordial should be a seasonal drink: it truly is the taste of summer.

Elderflower Cordial

  • 20 Elderflower heads (each head is one clump of flowers)
  • 1.5 kg white sugar
  • 1.5 litres water
  • 2 lemons
  • 75g citric acid

Place the elderflower heads in a large, clean bowl. Wash the lemons under hot water if the skins are waxed. Squeeze the juice of the lemons over the elderflower heads then roughly chop up the rinds and throw them in too. Heat the sugar and water, stirring until the sugar is dissolved then bring to the boil. Pour the liquid into the bowl and stir in the citric acid. Cover and leave in a cool place for two days, stirring a couple of times a day. Strain the liquid through muslin to remove any small flowers and decant into clean sterilised bottles. Seal well and store in a cool cupboard or the fridge. Be sure to keep each bottle in the refrigerated once opened.

Elderflower and Gooseberry Martini

Elderflower and gooseberry go together like gin and tonic and both come into season at the same time.

  • 15 ml Elderflower cordial
  • 6 ripe gooseberries
  • 50 ml gin
  • Dash lemon juice to taste

Place the gooseberries in a Boston shaker and muddle till they are well crushed and giving up their juices. Add the cordial and the gin and shake over ice. Add lemon juice to taste then strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with some delicate fresh elderflowers.

Elderflower and Mint G&T

A summer twist on the classic, build this drink in a highball with large chunks of ice: Rub a sprig of mint between your hands to slightly bruise the leaves and release their flavour. Pop the mint into the glass and add a dash of cordial. Pour in a slug of your favourite gin and top up with tonic. Stir and enjoy!

Indian Summer Fizz

  • 50 ml gin
  • Sprig coriander
  • 15 ml Elderflower cordial
  • Ginger beer

Shake the gin, coriander and cordial in a Boston shaker. Strain into a highball glass filled with large chunks of ice and top up with ginger beer.

Comments are closed.