It is hard to find a flower to rival the beauty of the Elder (Sambucus nigra)! Intricately laced flowers donning each cluster, all amass on a bush — simply magical! But, this flower is so much more than just a beauty! It is a beloved flower in herbal medicine, folklore, foods, desserts, and beverages. One of my favourite things to do, besides making a cup of tea 😊, is to make a refreshing summer drink – I am head over heels in love with Elderflower Cordial…simply delish!
The season for Elderflowers is short, in our neck of the woods it is usually late June depending on the year. It’s a perfect excuse for a long summer walk, be sure to bring along a basket and scissors. Before seeing them, you are likely to catch the scent on the summer breeze – a true delight!
This recipe is quick and super easy to make, my kind of recipe! When stored in sterilized bottles will keep for several weeks.
Elder Flower Syrup
10 cups sugar or local honey
6 cups boiling water
4 medium lemons
1 tsp ascorbic acid (vitamin C keeps colour and preservative – optional)
30 large Elderflower heads
5 cups sugar or local honey
3 cups boiling water
2 medium lemons
½ tsp ascorbic acid (vitamin C keeps colour and preservative – optional)
15 large Elderflower heads
- Place the sugar in a large saucepan and add the boiling water, stir until all the sugar has dissolved. Let cool.
- Grate the rind of the lemons and add to the cooled sugar water.
- Thickly slice the lemons and add to the water mixture.
- Add the citric acid and stir.
- The moment we have all been waiting for, add the flower heads to the water and stir again. (Separate the flowers from the stems, trying to remove as many of the stems as you can. Hopefully, you have got all the insects out prior to this step — save a bug today lol)
- Steep for 24 – 48 hours. Sampling every so often until the flavour is to your liking.) Be sure to cover with a clean cloth.
- After steeping, strain through a cheese cloth or fine sieve into a clean bowl and discard solids.
- Using a funnel, fill sterilized glass bottles and cap.
- The cordial can be stored in a cool, dark place for a few weeks Once a bottle is opened it must be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks. The cordial freezes well. To freeze pour into freezer-safe containers, leaving “room” for expansion.
Elder Flower Cordial
And now the moment we have all been waiting for, a refreshing drink of Elderflower Cordial! Pour two ounces of cordial in a tall iced glass, add ice cubes. Dilute with water, bubbly water and/or a splash of gin puts it over the top. Add a slice of lemon, sprig of mint or lemon balm and top with an Elder flower or other edible flower — Voila! You have created a summer delight!
I do not like sweet drinks so my preference is always less cordial per glass and adding Sweet Cicely to mixture 😊