Elderflower cordial recipe

Val Bourne / 11 May 2015

Homemade elderflower cordial is so easy to make. Try this recipe mixed with sparkling water, perfect for summer barbecues.



Elderflowers make excellent cordial, although you must pick fragrant flowers in dry conditions. Once the flowers mature and turn yellow they take on a tom-cat fragrance that will be transferred to your cordial. Elderflowers usually start blooming around mid May.

Citric acid can be bought from chemists, some supermarkets and shops stocking winemaking supplies, such as Wilkinson's. If you struggle to find citric acid you can swap it for an extra four lemons, but be aware that storage time will be affected so freeze any excess cordial to make sure it lasts.

Serve your cordial with sparkling water, and for a summer party you could serve as a non-alcoholic alterative to Pimms and lemonade with a combination chopped lemons, cucumbers, strawberries and fresh mint leaves. It also works well added to cocktails.

Try this recipe for elderflower gin

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Elderflower cordial ingredients

  • 1kg /2 ¼ lbs sugar
  • 1.5 litres / 6 cups boiling water
  • 4 medium lemons
  • 30 large elderflower heads, shaken to remove insects
  • 55g / 2 oz citric acid

How to make elderflower cordial

Place the sugar in a large basin or clean plastic bucket.

Pour on the boiling water and stir.

Leave mixture to cool.

Grate the rind of the lemons with a fine grater and add to the sugar water.

Slice the lemons into thick slices and add to the water.

Add the citric acid and stir

Finally add the elderflower heads to the water and stir again.

Cover with a clean cloth and leave to steep for 48 hours.

Strain through clean fine muslin cloth into a clean bowl.

Using a funnel, fill sterilized bottles.

Seal and store in a cool, dark place (not the refrigerator) for a few weeks, or freeze in plastic bottles to keep for longer.

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