a curious cook

Elderflower cordial


Elderflower cordial

May and June are the elderflower months for me. Every year I make quite a few bottles of elderflower cordial from the fragrant elderflowers to last me until the next harvest. Once you know what the tree and the blossom look like you can’t miss them these months. The tree grows everywhere! Just add some water for a wonderfully refreshing drink or make a delicious long drink with some sparkling wine.  A dash of floral cordial tastes great on some ice cream with summer fruit.

Always pick the elderflowers when they are in full bloom. It is the pollen that gives your syrup that delicious taste. So don’t wash the flowers, but leave them on your countertop to give small bugs the chance to crawl away. The leaves are bitter and poisonous, so snip them off. Also cut away the stems as much as possible.

I use 1 kilo of sugar for each liter of water. This makes the syrup keep for ± 1 year. Once opened, store the bottles in the fridge. The more sugar you use, the longer the syrup will keep. If you don’t like your drink too sweet, use less sugar and mix the syrup with a little less water. Your elderflower cordial will have a shorter shelf life and it is best to store the bottle in the refrigerator. Citric acid provides a nice tart taste and gives your cordial a longer shelf life. If you don’t want to use citric acid, add some extra lemon juice for a slightly more tart elderflower cordial.


Elderflower cordial

For ± 1,2 liter/ 1,3 qt


20-30 sprays of elderflower blossom

1 liter / 1 qt water

1 organic lemon

± 1 kilo / 5 cups sugar

± 15 g / 1 tbsp citric acid (optional)

well-cleaned and sterilized bottles *

Cut as many stalks as possible from the flower sprays and put them in a large pan with the water. Grate the yellow zest of the lemon over the pan. Peel the lemon thick so that all the white bitter skin is cut away. Cut the fruit into slices and put in the pan. Place a plate on top so that the flowers are well under water and leave in a cool place for ± 24 hours.

Line a sieve with a well-rinsed tea towel and strain the liquid in another pan. Add the sugar and citric acid (when using). Heat over low heat until all sugar is dissolved. Pour the hot liquid into the bottles and close immediately.

* Boil the bottles in plenty of water with a little soda to sterilize them and let them dry completely.

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