how to: make elderflower cordial

Evening everybody! I’m back home now, having moved out of my crumbling student house in Bristol at the weekend. Coming home to a house with working lights, a comfortable bed and a distinct lack of mice and mould is something I’ll always appreciate!

I tried elderflower cider for the first time the other night, and whilst it was a little bit like drinking perfume, I really liked it. There are elder trees all around the village in blossom at the moment, so it wasn’t too difficult to go out and ‘forage’ for a few flowers, and then come home and attempt to make cordial from them!

Many recipes online use citric acid in their elderflower cordial, which you can imagine, is a bit tricky to get hold of (especially as it’s something drug users use apparently – awkward). This is a recipe from the Graphic Foodie which doesn’t need citric acid, and makes a reasonable quantity of cordial. Some of the recipes I found used over 2.5 kilos of sugar! You can dilute it with water, use it in a gin and tonic, or use it to bake with (recipe coming soon!).


  • 900g caster sugar
  • 600ml water
  • 2 lemons
  • around 15 elderflower heads 


Pour the sugar and water into a large saucepan and heat gently until the sugar dissolves. Give it a stir occasionally.
As the sugar-water is heating, gently wash the elderflowers and zest the lemons. Chop the lemons into thin slices, and put them into a big mixing bowl along with the zest and elderflowers.
Once the syrup is clear, take it off the heat and pour it over the lemons and flowers. Cover the bowl with a plate and leave to sit for 24 hours, stirring occasionally. 


When you’re ready to bottle the cordial, you need to sterilise some jars to put it in. There are probably better ways to do this, but I washed out my glass bottles with boiling water, then microwaved them for bursts of 30 seconds at a time until they were completely dry (and hot!). Then I let them cool on the side until I was ready to pour my cordial in. If you’re going to sterilise them this way, make sure there’s no metal on the jars!
Line a colander with absorbent paper towel and set it over a big bowl or a jug. Pour the cordial through, a little at a time. You can pass it through a second time if it still looks cloudy. 
Finally, pour into your sterilised jars, label them and use however you like!

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