Every year, after the hawthorn has finished flowering we look forward to our elderflowers blossoming, and right now, the air is thick with the heady scent of the beautiful big blooms.
If you get the chance, I would highly recommend having a go at this easy recipe.
I am pretty confident, that if you closely follow it you will have spectacular results!
I must admit that I almost always find it impossible to follow a recipe to the letter (even if its my own) and because of this and other variables such as natural yeast content etc I am currently finishing off the liveliest version of this recipe that I have ever made..
It is drier than usual because I lowered the sugar content and it whooshes out of the bottle at a hundred miles an hour. Still, it is really pretty good, even a year later and it has to be drunk as I need the bottles back for this year’s endeavour.
It is easy, fun to make and delicious!
You will need:
A large pot/pan/bucket
Ideally, a large square of unbleached muslin, but a tea towel will do
new or recycled clean bottles ( I use pressurised bottles with flip top lids to lessen the chance of the odd explosion)
So here you go:
- 700 grams of sugar (I use the least refined possible but any will do)
- 4 unwaxed lemons (juice and zest)
- 1 tsp of white wine vinegar
- Around 16 large elderflower heads ( choose the heads with a few buds still waiting to bloom included and avoid any that have turned brown)
- A pinch of dried yeast (on stand by)
- 6 litres water.
Boil half the water and pour into a large pan/pot/bucket
Dissolve the sugar in the hot water
When the sugar is completely dissolved, add the remaining cold water along with
the juice and zest of your 4 lemons
And 1 tsp white wine vinegar
And finally, your beautiful big elderflower blooms
Cover the pan with a clean piece of muslin/tea towel and leave to ferment in a cool airy spot for a couple of days.
After 2 days check to see if your mix has started to ferment. It will appear a little foamy if so, if not, this is the time to add a pinch of brewers/champagne yeast.
Leave to ferment for another 4-5 days before straining out the flower heads through muslin ( I line a colander with muslin, pour the mix through into a jug/bowl squeezing out as much liquid as possible.
Decant into bottles with swing top/cork or plastic lids
If you didn’t get hold of pressurised bottles it might be worth covering your finished champagne with a blanket just to be on the safe side. Exploding bottles are rare but sticky..
Serve chilled, enjoy!