Essential elderflower cordial

Unhusband: ”Did you piss in a bottle?”

Me: ”Err, no. It’s elderflower coridal.”

It started off as a regrettable bank holiday morning.  Baby A woke up at 6am.

By 6.05 we were downstairs. By 6.10 she’d had enough of the European Parliamentary Election results. By 6.15 so had I, though probably for different reasons.

I had two choices: wait for Baby A to wake up the rest of the house, or go to the allotment. The allotment won, even though it was A) drizzling and B) I really needed a coffee.

Unsurprisingly, the allotment was deserted. Unsurprisingly, I couldn’t remember the code for the padlock, meaning we were locked out. Rhubarb and strawberries on one side; me, all terrain-buggy and baby on the other side. If it was just me, I could have scaled the fence.  Unfortunately, my incumbents made this unlikely, or at least unsafe. Bollocks.  elderflowers

Instead, I hung about wondering what time Costa might open, which might explain why the trees looked like they were covered in cappuccinos. On closer inspection, they turned out to be elderflowers.

Well, it was better than a wasted trip so I returned home with a bag full of frothy flowers and turned them into elderflower cordial.


elderflower cordial ingredients 1.5 litres of water

25 – 30 elderflower heads

2 kilos of sugar (caster or granulated)

2 lemons (peeled and sliced into rounds – keep the peel.)

85 grams of citric acid (available from pharmacies, don’t bother looking in the supermarket.) This is optional but will make the cordial last longer.


Bring the sugar and water slowly to the boil, until dissolved, then allow to cool slightly.

Gently wash the elderflowers in a washing-up bowl. Swish around to remove dirt and bugs.

Remove the lemon rind with a potato peeler and slice the lemons into rounds.

Add the elderflowers, lemon peel and slices, and citric acid to the syrup and leave to infuse for 24 hours.

Line a seive with a muslin or tea towel, then sit it over a large bowl. Pour in the syrup and let it drip through, discarding the bits left in the towel.

Pour the cordial into sterilised bottles (to sterilise either wash in the dishwasher, or with hot soapy water and leave to dry in a low oven).

home made elderflower cordialThe cordial is ready to drink straight away and will keep in the fridge for up to 6 weeks.

Admittedly, it does have a slight urine-like tinge to it. Cheers for that, Unhusband.

D’s verdict: ”It’s my new best Ribena.”

(Disclaimer: that’s an allium in the foreground, I ran out of elderflowers. Sorry about the bottle.)

About Becky Dickinson

Mum of three. Writer, blogger, grower. Trying to keep my head above the compost heap.

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  1. When life gives you elderflowers… Thanks for the recipe, I keep looking out of the window at the elderflower trees in the back lane and thinking I must make some cordial. I do hope you have the code to the allotments padlock written down somewhere.

  2. Between Unusband’s comment and D’s feedback, you know which one to take into account 🙂

    Thanks for the recipe. I just need to make sure I pick up the right flowers!

  3. Good luck Ambra. Don’t get confused with cow parsley – I don’t think that would make good cordial.

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