How To Make Elderflower Cordial

There are lots of recipes for how to make elderflower cordial online.

But none come with a video like this.

This will make about four litres of the most delicious elderflower cordial, that even fussy teenagers will home in on like the proverbial.


How To Make Elderflower Cordial from Charlie Budd on Vimeo.


About 25 freshly snipped elderflower heads

6 unwaxed lemons

2 teaspoons of citric acid (not vital, but helps the cordial to keep longer)

2kg of sugar

3 litres of water


Choose new elderflower heads, with no brown flowers on – older flowers taste horrid.

Snip the heads off with as little stalk as you can, giving them a little shake to dislodge any insect visitors, especially if you’re a vegetarian.

Put the elderflower heads, lemon zest and juice into a big pot, pour over three litres of boiling water, cover and leave overnight.

Have a gin and tonic and watch an episode of The Bridge, or Springwatch, or something.

Next day, scald a muslin cloth over a sieve to sterilise it. (Scolding a muslin cloth is satisfying, but has no sterilising effect.)

Pour the beautifully-scented elderflower water through the muslin-clad sieve.

Add the sugar, and the citric acid (if you’re using it).

Bring to a simmer, and simmer for a few minutes, until all the sugar is dissolved.

Make sure you stir it, so the sugar doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan and burn – it can taint the flavour, and burnt sugar can be a bugger to clean off a pan.

Leave to cool for around 20 minutes, just enough time for a cuppa and to check that there’s nothing interesting happening on Facebook.

Using a small funnel, carefully pour the warm cordial into sterilised bottles. (I sterilise bottles with a little just-boiled water.)

Let it cool to room temperature, then keep it in the fridge. It should keep for a few weeks at least, sometimes longer if you’ve used citric acid.

If you have teenagers, it’ll keep for about 7 minutes.

I have to hide mine.

(The cordial, not the teenagers.)

How To Serve

Pour over ice, and dilute to taste with either still or sparkling water.

A splash of elderflower cordial is VERY good in a gin and tonic.

A non-alcoholic summer punch made with apple juice, lemonade and elderflower cordial is flipping delicious.

It’s even better with vodka and cider in it, especially if you’re a student in Brighton in the 1990’s, believe me. I made gallons of it in washing up bowls for parties. You can always add a bit of chopped apple into the punch for your ‘5 a day’ ration of fruit and veg, to suck on once inebriated.

Do let me know how you get on with this recipe, on my Contact Page or reply below.

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