The Cordial Elderflower

Jane and a friend visiting us from Australia toured the castles of Aberdeenshire last week, and brought back a bag of elderflowers picked from the side of the road. She asked if I could post this recipe here to add to the collective elderflower wisdom of the web, which I’m more than happy to (and to see how many times I can say the word “elderflower”). It’s a combination of several different recipes, and tastes great. It’s pretty strong, so you might want to dilute it more than you would a commercial cordial.

Elderflower Cordial

As made by Jane Ewins and Michelle Simpson, 19 June 2004

In Scotland, elder bushes flower in June, and the large head of fragrant tiny flowers can be used to make a delicious and delicately flavoured summer drink.

60 elderflower heads
1.3 kg white sugar
100 grams citric acid (buy this from a pharmacy, ask at the counter)
1 orange, sliced
1 lemon, sliced
3 litres of water

Cut the thickest stems off the clumps of flowers. Make sure there are no insects in the flowers.

In a very large pot heat 3 litres of water. Add sugar and heat until the sugar is completely dissolved. Allow to cool until warmish, then add the elderflowers, orange, lemon, and citric acid. Gently stir through and allow to sit at room temperature for up to 18 hours.

The next day prepare bottles for storing cordial by cleaning and rinsing with hot water.* Strain the cordial though muslin or a fine sieve into the bottles. Do not squeeze the fruit or flowers in the muslin, or the cordial can become cloudy.†

You may want to store some in plastic bottles and freeze it. Otherwise store in the fridge where it will keep for months. JE

*Four screw-top wine bottles would work well. Shame we only had one. RE
Oops. RE