If you’re looking for a summer drink idea, make refreshing elderflower cordial, a wonderfully fragrant lemonade made from the flowers of the elder tree. Aside from a handful of flowers, you only need sugar, lemons, and water. The first step is to cook a light sugar syrup. Then the elderflowers are left to infuse in the syrup for 1 to 2 days. The longer you let the flowerheads sit in the liquid, the stronger the aroma becomes. You can serve the cordial undiluted, or mixed with sparkling water, soda, Prosecco, or champagne. My husband, usually not one to go for flowery flavours, loves this drink over crushed ice to freshen up after a sunny day out. The cordial also makes for a wonderful homemade foodie gift, and you can download pretty printable labels to decorate your bottles at the end of the recipe.
In Great Britain, elderflowers bloom from early May to mid-June, even early July in the North of England and Scotland. It’s always great fun to pick elderflowers with Irena. We either take flowers from our garden or the woods nearby. It’s best to pick elderflowers on a sunny, dry day. Be sure to bring garden shears for cutting and a wide basket to transport the flowers and be careful not to squish the delicate flowerheads.
Prep Time: 20 min
Cooking Time: 3 – 5 min
Yields: 1.5 litres (6 cups)
Instead of lemons, you can flavour the cordial also with other citrus fruits such as oranges or limes. I also love to mix lemons and limes for an extra refreshing drink.
For the elderflower cordial
- 20 freshly picked elderflower heads (see tip above)
- 500 g (2 1/2 cups) caster (granulated) sugar
- 1.5 litres (6 cups) cold water
- the grated zest of 2 unwaxed organic lemons
- juice of 2 lemons
- ice cubes or crushed ice
- lemon slices
1) Prep the elderflowers
Pick off any bugs from the elderflower heads and gently swish them through a large bowl filled with cold water.
2) Cook the sugar syrup
Place the water, caster (granulated) sugar and grated lemon zest into a wide saucepan and bring to a boil. Once the water is bubbling, reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking until the sugar is dissolved, which usually takes 3 to 5 minutes. Take the sugar syrup off the heat and let cool to room temperature.
3) Infuse the syrup with elderflowers
Place the elderflowers head-down into the saucepan and spritz with the lemon juice. Make sure the flowers are fully submerged in the syrup. Cover the pot with a lid and place in the fridge. Allow the elderflowers to infuse the syrup for 24 to 48 hours.
4) Strain the cordial
Place a sieve or colander over a large bowl and line with a piece of muslin or a tea towel. Pour through the mixture to strain the flowers and any solids. Discard the content of the muslin. Using a funnel, ladle the cordial into sterilised bottles and decorate with our printable labels.
5) Serve the cordial
Serve the elderflower cordial poured over ice cubes or crushed ice and garnished with fresh lemon slices and elderflowers. You can also dilute the cordial with still or sparkling water, soda, wine or champagne.
Storage & Shelf Life
Stored in the refrigerator, the elderflower cordial can be kept for a month.
The airy elderflowers always remind me of little white stars, and I loved capturing the simple beauty of these tiny flowers in a pretty green-and-white summer pattern.
Print the labels
Print thelabel on A4 or letter self-adhesive paper or cardstock, cut out along the grey lines and apply to a bottle
Free Printable Elderflower Cordial Labels
Click on the button to download your free printable labels and gift the lemonade in style!
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