• Serves: 40-60 glasses
  • Prep Time: 60 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 5 minutes
  • Difficulty: EASY

There’s something really special about making your own cordial from scratch. The foraging is great fun with kids and the whole process is much simpler than you might think.

From May through June, possibly into early July, elderflower blossoms all over the UK and you only need a few heads to make a gorgeous, refreshing, lemony cordial that will last well into the summer.

If you’’ve never foraged for elderflower before, it’’s absolutely vital that you make sure you’’re collecting the right flowers. This guide is excellent and explains how to spot elderflower, which grows up high on bushes, versus other similar looking plants including the very poisonous cowbane. If in any doubt, please don’t take any risks.

When picking elderflower, it’’s best to choose a sunny, dry day and pick flowers with the buds just opening. They should smell fresh and have that distinctive elderflower aroma, they shouldn’’t smell damp or unpleasant.



  • Approx. 20 heads of elderflower, well rinsed and inspected for insects
  • 1 kg caster sugar
  • 1 tsp citric acid (buy it from your local chemist)
  • 3 lemons, –peel and juice
  • 1.5 litres of water




Aim to start your making process on the same day that you collect your flowers.

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  • 1

    Boil the water and add to a large pan with the sugar and citric acid, stirring until it’’s completely dissolved and the liquid is completely clear. Add the flowers, lemon peel and lemon juice. Stir well. Cover the pan with cling film and a tea towel and leave to stew for 24 hours in a cool place.


  • 2

    Using a sieve, lift out the majority of the flowers and lemon and press to release any excess liquid back into the pan. Rinse the sieve and line with a clean muslin cloth then strain the liquid into a clean bowl. Repeat if necessary, until you have a liquid entirely free of bits and pieces.


  • 3

    Wash the pan and bring the cordial to a simmer for 5 minutes, then leave to cool before pouring into sterilized jars or bottles with tight fitting lids. Store in the fridge.


  • 4

    To serve, mix one part cordial to four to six parts water. It’’s gorgeous with plenty of ice and fresh lemon slices.







By Emily Leary on 26.06.15

Guest Contributor

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