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Elderflower Champagne!

Posted: Tue May 15, 2018 3:02 pm
by RenewableCandy
Now's the day and now's (well, morning is a bit better) the hour!

To make 6 litres:

6 litres water
Juice and zest of 4 lemons
700g sugar
2 tblsp white wine vinagar
A dozen fresh elderflower heads, picked on a sunny day

Pour 2 litres of hot water over the sugar and stir until it dissolves. Add the rest of the water, cold.

Tip in the lemon juice and zest, vinagar and finally the flower heads, and give it all a good stir (I have a large Estonian wooden spoon which is used for nothing-but-winemaking!).

Cover and keep in a warm-ish place, stirring once a day.

After 4 days or so, the mixture should be slightly bubbly - elderflowers have yeast on (or in: not sure).

Leave for another 10 days.

By then it's going to look fairly manky, but don't give up. One batch of ours got mould on top but I lifted it off in one piece and the champers ended up tasting just fine!

Lift off as much of the gunk as possible first, then strain the juice into 3 of those 2-litre lemonade bottles. Put the bottles outside - we put ours on the back doorstep. Every couple of days for another fortnight or so unscrew the tops enough to let the gas out.

If you're fussy, at this point you can rack it into different bottles to reduce the amount of sediment at the bottom. But there's never very much...

Another fortnight after that, and you can toast your success with your own home-made bubbly!

Re: Elderflower Champagne!

Posted: Tue May 15, 2018 4:11 pm
by BernardSmith
What is the reason for adding vinegar? I see this in a lot of elderflower wines that are called "elderflower champagne". I make elderflower wine several times a year, it's our favorite wine, but there is never a need to add vinegar to any wine. Is the idea to turn this into vinegar, he said with some irony?

Re: Elderflower Champagne!

Posted: Tue May 15, 2018 8:20 pm
by RenewableCandy
The vinagar and the lemon juice between them create the acid environment that the yeast thrives in.

I've never tried, but apparently you can substitute citric acid for the lemon (if you're out of lemons). There's a ratio but I've not got it to hand.