Elderflower Cordial always reminds me so much of summer. It’s such a refreshing summery drink, perfect with some ice on a nice hot sunny day. I usually buy it from the shops because I actually had no idea how easy it was to make. I thought it would be super hard to find elderflower too, but apparently not – it grows in most of the hedgerows throughout the UK! It’s those huge tree-like bushes with white flowers on them that look similar to cow parsley. Once I knew what I was looking for, I kept finding them everywhere, but it’s best not to get them from the roadside as they could absorb the fumes from the traffic.
I was worried that I’d confuse it with something similar and end up poisoning us or something, but I found this guide on identifying elderflower really helpful. I kept referring back to it when we found our first elder tree just to make sure it was the right thing, because it looks so similar to so many different plants. We went out with my little basket, filled it to the brim with elderflower and headed home to make the cordial.
It’s best to make it straight away, as otherwise it starts to wilt pretty quickly. While the sugar syrup was heating up, I sat for about 5 minutes getting rid of all the blackfly. I also gave it a little shake (I’ve read online not to do this because it gets rid of a lot of the pollen too which contains a lot of the flavour), because it was just swarming with hundreds of tiny tiny little flies that I would never have seen before. I then (again, not supposed to do this), washed it under the tap gently, just to be sure all the bugs were gone). Most recipes used oranges and lemons and it seemed like more of an orange and elderflower cordial, so I eventually found this recipe that was the simplest one I came across. It says to add 4 tablespoons of honey, but we found it way too sweet and the honey overpowered the delicate taste of the elderflower so I’d recommend leaving it out.
What you’ll need:
15 elderflower heads
500g caster sugar
How to make it:
1. In a saucepan, put the sugar and water and bring to a boil over a low heat.
2. While the water is heating up, clean all the elderflowers from the bugs and remove any leaves.
3. Once the sugar-water mix has come to a slow boil, remove from the heat, add in the elderflowers, making sure the flowers are fully covered. Grate in the zest of both lemons, and the juice of one lemon.
4. Leave covered for about 24 hours to infuse, then strain through a muslin cloth or teatowel, and pour into sterilized bottles or jars and keep until needed. I love it diluted with water, and served with some ice on a hot sunny day.
I’d love to try making some more stuff with elderflower, as I’ve only ever had cordial. I love the sound of strawberry and elderflower jam, so I might try making a strawberry & elderflower chia seed jam. It’s the very end of the elderflower season now (we struggled to find as much as we did), but I saw one bush that was a little late in flowering and had a few buds appearing, so I might have to pop over next weekend to get some more and try the jam out!
Have you foraged or made anything with elderflower before? I’d love to see!
KateJuly 5, 2016 at 4:20 pm
These photos are gorgeous! This looks so beautiful!
-Kate // http://www.classyandkate.com
AprilJuly 6, 2016 at 6:31 am
Aww thanks! I hope you get to try it sometime!
Gemma GarnerJuly 5, 2016 at 10:23 pm
I’m a bit disappointed I missed the elderflowers this year now, I do love elderflower cordial. Beautiful photos 🙂
AprilJuly 6, 2016 at 6:34 am
Luckily, I’ve got my eye on a tree that is only just starting to bloom, so I’m definitely going to go back and pick some more. If not, then next year!
Thanks again for the elderflower guide – it was the best I found.
MarielleJuly 6, 2016 at 4:23 am
I’m not sure if there are elderflowers here in our country but what you made looks really refreshing and natural! Awesome photos too! 🙂
AprilJuly 6, 2016 at 6:32 am
I think they like to grow in UK conditions, perhaps the north of the US and southern Canada? I hope you get to try it one day! So good!
sophie nadeauJuly 6, 2016 at 2:25 pm
This looks so delicious- I love that you’ve sweetened it with honey. The pictures are gorgeous too!
AprilJuly 6, 2016 at 6:20 pm
Thanks! It was such a shame because the honey overpowered the elderflower too much, so I think next time I’ll leave it out!
GraceJuly 6, 2016 at 8:11 pm
That looks so good! Thanks for sharing an amazing recipe:)
AprilJuly 8, 2016 at 6:48 am
Thank you! I hope you get to make it someday!
JoannaJuly 6, 2016 at 10:32 pm
Mom my makes this every year! My family always mixes it with mineral water to make a soda like drink. You can also remove the flowers and dry them to make a really good tea. It is super good for your immune system.
And I couldn’t comment without saying that these photos are lovely.
AprilJuly 8, 2016 at 6:48 am
Ooh elderflower tea sounds interesting! Thanks for your lovely comment!
Annie AbbeyJuly 6, 2016 at 11:39 pm
This looks delicious! So funny I have never heard of cordial before and today I heard about it like three times! I guess it is a sign!
AprilJuly 8, 2016 at 6:49 am
Haha! So strange! I love cordial – I really want to try making other cordials now, probably an orange one next!
Monique | WritingMoniqueJuly 7, 2016 at 11:23 am
Oh, this recipe looks delicious!
AprilJuly 8, 2016 at 6:49 am
It was lovely! 🙂
Georgia OwenJuly 7, 2016 at 3:54 pm
This looks so fresh and delicious, can’t wait to give it a try over the summer season! Also, your blog is so pretty and elegant, I had to give you a follow <3
AprilJuly 8, 2016 at 6:50 am
Aww thank you for your lovely comment! I hope you get to try it! So good!
AliceJuly 8, 2016 at 9:32 am
I’ve never tried elderflower cordial before, it looks so easy to make though! It’s a shame it’s coming to the end of the season for it as I would have liked to have tried to make some – maybe next year!
The Velvet Black | UK Style & Beauty Blog
AprilJuly 9, 2016 at 8:34 pm
I love it! I usually just buy it from the shops – it definitely has a more delicate taste than mine, but I think that was the honey. Hopefully you can make some next year as it’s so lovely and easy too!
Colleen | ColleenWelsch.comJuly 8, 2016 at 10:50 pm
I bet that’s so good! It’s certainly a lot cheaper than buying St. Germaine, especially if you’re just finding the elderflower in the wild! Unfortunately, I don’t think elderflower grows in Southern California 🙁
AprilJuly 9, 2016 at 8:35 pm
Oh wow! Probably not which is such a shame! I drive past so many elderflower plants on the way to work every day and had no idea that that was what it was! Hopefully one day you can make some!