‘Tis the Season
The Elder-flower Cordial is a sweet, flavorful drink that can be made by just about anybody. Elder-flowers are the prerequisite to the, you guessed it, elderberry. Now is the season for the flower, and a delicious, sweet Spring/Summer time drink. Once the berries form, the opportunity for a stronger, adult drink is available.
For now though, we will start with the recipe and process for the sweet drink that everybody can drink. Elder-flower is in season roughly from late May through July and a medium sized plant can yield nearly a hundred large flower heads.
Enough with the small talk, let’s get to the ingredients:
– 15 elder-flower heads (yields just over 1 gallon (4 liters) depending on dilution ratio)
– 4 cups (500g) white granulated sugar
– 4 tablespoons honey
– 2 large lemons
– 4 ⅓ cups (1 liter) water
1. Clip 15 elder-flower heads at the main stem, just below where all the smaller flower stems join together and above the leaves. Take your time, to be sure to clear out any bugs or dead flower heads, but don’t rinse the heads in water or shake them upside down. The pollen of the flowers is where most of the flavor is found.
2. Combine the sugar, honey and 1 liter of water in a large saucepan over a medium heat, as the sugar begins to dissolve increase the heat until it just begins to boil lightly. Once it starts to boil, remove the syrup from the heat.
3. Grate in the lemon peel zest from the 2 large lemons. Then cut 1 lemon in half, and the other into slices.
4. Add the 15 elder-flower heads, stem up so that the flower heads are all submerged.
5. Squeeze the juice from the lemon you cut in half into the syrup. Place the slices from the other lemon on top of the flower heads.
Place a lid on the saucepan and let the mixture infuse for the next 24 hours.
Once 24 hours have passed, strain the liquid into a container by placing a tea towel or fine cloth inside of your strainer and pouring the mixture through it. (Bonus: The remaining flower heads and lemon slices are excellent for your compost.)
**Note** This will create a super sweet concentrated cordial, and should be diluted to taste. I recommend 1 part cordial to 3 parts water, but everyone has different tastes.
Sit back on a warm evening and enjoy!