Summer started early this year, with the elderflowers coming into full bloom towards the end of May. This was a full month earlier than in 2010 when I made my cordial on Midsummer’s Day.
I was inspired to make this liqueur having sampled some delicious, but pricey, elderflower liqueur made by St Germain at a food show. I hope that this is just as tasty, and costs a fraction of the price, and has the added satisfaction of contained a foraged, and thus free, ingredient.
I saw a few elderflowers from the train a few days ago, so some are still to be found but it may be that you need to bookmark this recipe and come back to it in 11 months time.
Best served on a summer’s day, neat, or as a spritzer with white wine, chilled fizzy water and ice.
Makes 1 litre
10 small elderflower heads
2 – 4 oz / 50 – 100g / ¼ – ½ cup sugar (according to taste)
Zest 1/2 lemon
1 litre vodka
It is best to gather the elderflower first thing in the morning when it is still highly scented. Give each bloom a good shake to get rid of any insects.
Loosely pack the flowers into a wide mouthed jar until it is full, add the lemon zest and sugar. Top up with the vodka.
Tightly screw the lid on and give a good shake to dissolve the sugar. Leave in a dark place to infuse for 4 – 6 weeks until it is a pale yellow colour.
Strain through a muslin cloth into a clean bottle and leave to mature and mellow for 2 months – you can drink it straight away, but it is better left for a while. Dilute and add more sugar to your personal taste.
I suspect this would be equally as nice made with gin, if you give it a try please let me know.
Update: Marks & Spencer will have an elderflower liqueur for sale for Christmas this year, I can confirm that it really is rather good shaken with gin and served over a couple of slices of cucumber.