Today I'm going to show you how to make the quintessential summer drink, a non-alcoholic English elderflower cordial (think syrup) which is tart and sweet, with lovely floral notes. It doesn't get more refreshing than a splash of this cordial over a glass of iced soda water.
At the end of the post I also have a cocktail recipe using the cordial.
I've been curious about making an elderflower cordial using the pretty pink flowers from my "Black Lace" elderberry (Would it taste good? Would it leave everyone shuffling off with tummy aches like a bunch of Bar-ba-Loots?) and this year did some digging around to find this recipe. I modified it just a bit and it's been a big hit. Nobody has died. I thought I would be giving bottles of the cordial away for Christmas but it will be long gone by then.
Here are my step by step instructions...
20 Elderflower heads
3 Lbs sugar
3 Pints water
2 Ounces citric acid
Pick your elderflower heads. I'm using the "Black Lace" variety but common elderflower with white flowers will also work perfectly. You just won't get the pink hue in the final product.
Remove as many flowers from their stems with a fork as you can. I've heard they can impart bitterness but I had a few stems remaining and didn't notice any ill effect, so I don't know how thorough you need to be.
Add your sugar and citric acid to the water, stirring over med heat until dissolved and clear. Add the zest of two lemons, then slice the lemons and throw those in the pot too.
Add your flowers to the pot, stir and leave to cool. Cover with a kitchen towel and leave to sit for 48 hours.
After a day or two (some recipes call for 24 hours, some for 48 hours) you will see that the lemons and flowers have broken down a bit. You are now ready to strain through cheesecloth and then bottle in sterilized bottles.
The cordial will keep in the fridge for a few months or in the freezer for longer. The cordial is very concentrated and you need just a dash to liven up sparkling water.
Pink Fizz Elderflower Cocktail
1 shot English gin
1 shot St Germain
1 dash of pink elderflower cordial
Method: Shake ingredients with ice, strain into ice-filled glass, and top with soda water
Garnish: Lemon zest twist or sprig of elderflower