Elderflower Cordial, elderflower champagne and elderflower wine – Andy Hamilton

Elderflower bloom
A spray of elderflower
Elderflower bloom
A spray of elderflower

As elderflower season is at its height it seems like a good time to re-post Andy’s recipes for Elderflower cordial, Elderflower Champagne, and Elderflower wine

For any problems with elderflower champagne please see Andy’s other site.

Elderflower Cordial

An easy to make drink that can be frozen in plastic bottles, leaving room for expansion, so it can be enjoyed all year round. It will keep for almost a month if just bottled, although is best to drink within 2 weeks. To ensure no mould, it is better that you freeze elderflower cordial and it can be enjoyed as a Christmas drink.


20 elderflower heads
1 sliced lemon
2 tsp of citric acid (ask at your chemist)
1.5 kg (3.5 lbs) of sugar
1.2 ltr (2.5 pints) boiling water


Boil a kettle for the water.

Fill a bowl or small bucket with all the other ingredients.

Pour the water over the other ingredients and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Skin the surface of the water to get rid of the scum that can arise. Cover with a cloth (mine has a pillow case over it).

Stir twice a day for five days.

Strain though a fine sieve though a fine sieve or through muslin cloth and decant into sterile screw topped bottles. Refrigerate.

As with other cordials dilute with 5 parts water to serve . Experiment with it and add it to some of your favourite spirits. It is really nice as a gin mixer.

Elderflower Champagne

Similar to elderflower presse and another delicious summer drink


8 litres (2 gallons) water
1.25 kg (2.5 lbs/5 cups) sugar
8 large elderflower heads
4 Lemons
4 tablespoons mild white wine vinegar


Boil the water and pour over the sugar to dissolve it.

Cool and add the elderflowers, juice of two of the lemons, slices of the other two and the vinegar.

Cover with a cloth and leave for a day.

Strain with a fine sieve or muslin cloth, squeezing the flowers as you do to release more flavour.

Store in screw top plastic bottles (glass bottles may explode).

It will be ready in about 10 days to a fortnight and should be drunk within a month.

Elderflower wine


Grated rind of one lemon
500mls (1 pint) of elderflowers – to obtain this pick or shake off the elderflowers
and place into a measuring jug. Don’t push them down but do shake them down. Be careful not to add any of the bitter green stems.
3.5 litres (8 pints) of boiling water
1.3kg (3 lbs) sugar
Juice of one lemon
15g (Half an ounce) yeast


Put lemon rind with the elderflowers and pour over boiling water
Allow to stand for 4 days, stirring occasionally.

Strain through a fine sieve or muslin cloth
Stir in sugar, lemon juice and yeast
Keep at room temperature to ferment, try not to let it go down to 18c (65f)
When you are sure all the bubbling has ceased, stir the wine and allow to settle for 3 days
Strain again carefully
Put in a demijohn (not bottles)
After 3 months maturing, put into bottles

For more recipes read Andy’s Book ‘Booze for free’.

12 Comments on Elderflower Cordial, elderflower champagne and elderflower wine – Andy Hamilton

  1. Hi, can you help? I made the cordial, fist time this year, near end school summer term, our flowers were late this year. I planned to leave it to for 5 days but my mum was rushed into hospital 200 miles away and I didn’t get home until today so it was left 12 days. My hubby did stir it daily, up to 4 days ago (he joined me) I was shocked to find mould spots floating on syrup surface. I have skimmed the surface today but am scared to use it, is it any good, would it be ok if I froze it maybe, or is it totally ruined?
    If no good as cordial is it possible to turn into anything else like wine, syrup etc? (I did add citric acid) HELP, does anyone have any ideas PLEASE???
    Thanks Lolly PS It smells great? ha

  2. I made elderflower cordial this year (with a different recipe) and the next day it had gloopy bit floating in its bottles! They have settled so it doesn’t look that bad but anyone else had this problem?
    So far, I’ve made elderflower fizz, cordial, ice-cream and just started on apple and elderflower cider.
    Last year made elderflower and grape wine, very potent and delicious as a spritzer!

  3. I’ve justmade 3 litres of Elderflower Cordial, the same as I did last year, didn’t freeze it or anything, just bottled it and used it as I went along, it took about 8 months to use all the bottles up and it was fine.
    I got a bit worried when I saw that everyone says to freeze it, no one had told me that, seems like I’m lucky I wasn’t ill.
    I’m wondering now, what can I do with the left over orange,lemon amd elderflower heads, if anything, it seems a shame to throw them out?

  4. @Nightshade, re: gloopy bits-

    I made several litres of elderflower cordial in July of 2011, using a recipe similar to this one. All the bottles developed a cloudy suspension which looked almost like a cohesive blob. It never quite settled, just hung about in the bottle. However, when I opened my first stored bottle, the seal was still good, and it tasted fine- no off flavours or odors, no unpleasant effects. My best guess is that it’s pollen from the flowers.

    I boiled the strained cordial before bottling, and put it up in sterilized bottles while still hot. I’m still drinking it a year on, and no spoilage yet. I haven’t even refrigerated the opened bottles, just left them on the countertop. Perhaps it’s the citric acid?

  5. I have just made my first batch of elderflower champagne. Can any one tell me how alcoholic it is?

  6. Can I please ask a technical question? I’ve just tried to make some cordial from a different recipe in which you pour boiling water over the heads then strain and boil up with sugar. The result was brown and stinky! Do I need to take out all of the stalks? I’ve searched and searched and nobody explicity says that I should. Thanks!

  7. Thanks for this Andy! Quick question, what makes the Elderflower Champagne sparkling? Is it the vinegar? Can I do the same with Rosehip? Or what will I need to do to make Rosehip Champagne? Thanks again, Mel

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