It’s that time of year again and we are drinking elderflower champagne. I thought it was time to remind folks of my recipe.
I’m often asked if this is alcoholic – as some recipes for elderflower champagne are truly a sparkling wine, but this is very light – I don’t regard it as alcoholic at all, although there must be a little given that some the sugar has been converted and it is now fizzy, but the same sort of levels as traditional ginger beer. In our house we see this as a soft drink, and cold and fizzy from the fridge, the most refreshing I know.
This recipe was given to me by my mum, who I think got it from her father-inlaw, my granddad. We’ve been making it all my life, hence why it is mentioned so much in this blog, and the recipe has been tweaked around by each family member, which is why there is a mix of imperial and metric measurements. One advantage of this method, compared to other recipes, is it makes a concentrate, rather than having a big barrel in the kitchen, and this concentrate can be frozen for use out of season. We usually freeze just one batch for the winter solstice.
Be sure to use plastic bottle and keep an eye on them – well actually protect the eyes… as even plastic will explode if they are left too long – guess how I know…
4 heads of elderflower (picked on a sunny day)
Put the elderflower in a heatproof bowl, with the peel of the lemon (use a potato peeler to just get the zest – no white pith) and the juice of the lemon and the sugar. Add enough boiling water to dissolve the sugar. Stir and cover and leave overnight. Next day, strain and divide equally between two 2L plastic fizzy bottles. Fill with plain cold water, leaving a small air gap. Put a pinch of dried yeast in each bottle and tighten the lids on. Leave on the kitchen counter. Every day test the bottles with a little squeeze. When the bottles become very tight, move to the fridge, and then test one once chilled (over the sink!!!) to make sure the fizz stays. Keep in the fridge (to stop the yeast from working and exploding bottles!)
©colour it green 2007