Traditional recipes

Classic Elderflower Cordial recipe

Classic Elderflower Cordial recipe

  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Drink

This is a brilliant refresher for hot summer days. You'll find food grade citric acid at a health food store or Asian market.

21 people made this

IngredientsServes: 6

  • 24 elderberry flower heads
  • 900g caster sugar
  • 1.5L boiling water
  • 125ml fresh lemon juice
  • 50g citric acid powder

MethodPrep:15min ›Ready in:15min

  1. Combine the elderflower heads, sugar, lemon juice and citric acid in a large acid-proof container. Pour the boiling water over the ingredients and let steep for 24 hours, stirring occasionally.
  2. Strain the liquid by pouring it through muslin into a large bowl. Ladle into bottles and refrigerate, or pour into freezer containers and freeze.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(2)

Reviews in English (2)

by jacsboys

Every time my elderberry tree has flowers I make this drink and have done for years. My recipe is almost identical to this one used. I no longer buy mix-up cordial for my family, we much prefer to drink this. I tend to mix it with water for everyday drinking but for a special twist we use soda water and mint leaves or strawberries. My children always helpl make this recipe.-15 Aug 2010(Review from this site AU | NZ)


Classic Elderflower Cordial

Can you believe we are half way through the year already? Me neither! But June is one of the best months in the whole year (at least it is in my calendar!), and it brings so much wonderful produce with it! Including the star of today's recipe- elderflower!

What's an elderflower?

In shortest way possible- it's a flower from the elder tree. Elder trees are incredibly common across the UK, and if you are walking along the fields or countryside lanes, the chances of finding one are very high. It has these beautifully fragrant, lacy white tiny flowers, and they can be used to make wines, champagnes and cordials. As I'm not (yet) at the level of making my own wine or champagne, I thought I would share this simple, classic elderflower cordial recipe with you today.

Why you should make an elderflower cordial?

Because it's like a summer in a bottle! This sweet and fragrant liquid can be used in so many different ways, and has some fantastic health benefits. It helps to fight colds and flu, but most importantly, it has a fantastic flavour! It can be mixed with some sparkling water, for a super refreshing elderflower presse, perfect to cool down with on a hot day. You can also add it to wine, prosecco, champagne or G+T, just to take it up a notch (or impress your guests).

What else can elderflower cordial be used for?

You can also enjoy it drizzled over some fruit salad or ice cream. Cordial can also be added to jams and jellies, or whipped into strawberry, raspberry or gooseberry fool. Last but not least, you can enjoy it in your baking too! Add a splash to your cake batter, or use it to infuse the sponge cake with. Yummo (and watch this space. )!

How to make cordial

Preparing and making cordial couldn't be easier, but there are couple of things to watch out for. Shake the elderflower heads gently over the kitchen sink to get rid of any bugs or insects. Don't be tempted to rinse the flowers, as this will strip them from the flavour and pollen. Trim/ remove the stalks and place all the flowers in a large pan. Don't worry if you have some of the small green stalks left, they will be disposed later.

Cover the flowers in enough water to submerge them all, and make sure they stay under the water during cooking (topping up with more water if necessary). Strain the liquid through a muslin cloth or kitchen towel (you can also strain the lemon juice if you want your cordial to be completely clear), add sugar and bring it to the gentle boil & et voila!

This elderflower cordial will also taste great drizzled over tofu pancakes or could be used to infuse this vegan shortbread.

As always, let me know if you try this recipe by leaving me a comment below, and if you are really awesome, I would love you to rate it as well!


What is a Cordial Anyway?

Everything is new again and while the word cordial make me think of lazy days in Savannah, Georgia (despite never having visited) it’s actually found around the world.

However, cordial doesn’t have the same meaning everywhere in the world. In the US it’s an alcoholic syrup, often a liqueur.

However in Europe and other regions of the world it’s a simple syrup and is non-alcoholic.

This elderflower cordial is of the European kind. But being North American my first thought was to add vodka and cranberry to it.


England: Pimm&rsquos Cup

This refreshing drink was first made in a London oyster bar sometime between 1823 and 1840 and is still wildly popular in the U.K. today. Made with lemonade and the slightly sweet and herbal Pimm&rsquos, it&rsquos a perfect drink for happy hour, brunch, or watching tennis&mdashit&rsquos the official drink of Wimbledon, after all.

IngredientsHow to Make It
&ndash 1 inch cucumber, sliced (save one piece for garnish)
&ndash 2 oz Pimms no. 1
&ndash 1 tbsp lemon juice
&ndash 1/4 tsp sugar
&ndash Ginger beer
&ndash Lemon slice
Lace cucumber slices into a cocktail shaker and mash with a muddler or the back of a wooden spoon. Add Pimm&rsquos, lemon juice, and sugar. Add ice and shake vigorously. Strain Pimm&rsquos mixture into a glass filled with ice and top with ginger beer. Garnish with a slice of cucumber and lemon wedge.


How to make elderflower cordial

Throughout May and into early June, you'll be able to find elderflower growing in parks, woods and alongside pavements all over the UK. These tiny white flowers grow in sprays on small trees and can be picked to make elderflower cordial. Head out to pick your own elderflower, then make your own elderflower cordial with this super straightforward recipe. Store it for up to six weeks to spruce up plain water or to use in cocktails, desserts and cakes.

Try this easy recipe to make elderflower cordial at home:

1. Pick about 20 heads of elderflower, trim the stalks and wash well to get rid of any bugs.

2. Now make a syrup. Gently heat 1.5 litres of water and 2.5kg white sugar in a large pan until the sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally. Bring to the boil and remove from the heat.

3. Zest 2 lemons and slice into rounds, then add to the syrup along with the elderflowers. If you have citric acid (you can buy it online or at chemist's), add a heaped tablespoon – this will help to preserve it for longer but it's not essential. Stir well.

4. Cover the pan and set aside to infuse for 24 hours.

5. Line a colander with a piece of muslin or a tea towel and pour in the infused syrup. Discard the elderflower and lemon rounds.

6. Funnel the strained cordial into sterilised bottles, then store it in the fridge. Alternatively, freeze the cordial in ice cube trays for a delicious addition to water or gin and tonic.

Try your elderflower cordial in one of these summery elderflower desserts:

This springtime bake has a zesty and light sponge, topped with a lemony elderflower syrup and filled with lemon curd and elderflower buttercream – top with edible fresh flowers for an extra something special.


Elderflower Cordial Recipe:

  • 1kg of sugar
  • 1.5 liters of boiling water
  • 25-30 Elderflower heads
  • 4 lemons
  • 50g Citric Acid (I bought ours online – US Readers, you can get it here)
  • Have enough screw top bottles ready for storage – make sure they are sterilised. *

*we ended up having to improvise and added a milk bottle with clingfilm to the mix. Ha! To be honest, the cordial will be drunk in no time, so it isn’t really a problem. You just don’t want to store all your cordial like this!

To be honest the above are approximates.. you can scour the web for other Elderflower recipes and you will come up with variations of the above. The above worked for us very well and was delicious.


Elderflower cordial recipe

This excellent, not-too-sweet version of the classic cordial will keep for a long time to drink diluted by fizzy or still water right through the year.

For 2 x 750ml bottles

  • 1.35kg granulated sugar
  • Flowers from 15–20 elderflower heads
  • 2 oranges, thinly sliced
  • 2 lemons, thinly sliced
  • 2 limes, thinly sliced
  • 30g tartaric (or citric) acid

Put 1.15 litres water and the sugar in a saucepan, and dissolve the sugar completely before bringing to the boil.

Add the flowers and return the water to the boil. Remove from the heat immediately.

Put the thinly sliced fruit into a large bowl or jug. Add the tartaric acid and pour over the hot syrup and flowers.

Stir well and cover loosely.

Strain into warm sterilised bottles and seal. This keeps for a couple of months in the fridge. If you make plenty, pour some into plastic bottles and freeze. It will last for years.

This looks gorgeous in a classic Weck juice bottle, labelled with beautiful homemade stickers. It is a refreshing drink to have at a tea party or summertime picnic, along with a slice of cake.


What Is Elderflower Cordial

Elderflower cordial (or elderflower drink) is a fragrant soft drink, made of elderflowers collected during your walks in the nature. To prepare it literally takes 10 minutes, though for best results you need to leave it in the fridge to infuse for 2-3 days.

Some elderflower cordial recipes usually call for lemon zest and/or whole lemons, but make sure to only use the zest of your lemon if it is 100% organic. See below for more explanation.


Elderflower Cordial (Elderflower Syrup)

I hadn’t heard the old Irish folksong in years, but making Elderflower Cordial brought it back. Although I doubt the down-on-his-luck farmhand was thinking of non-alcoholic elderflower cordial, I like a straight fruit or flower syrup which gives me the option to have a boozy drink, or not.

Ever since I got a soda stream a while back (not an affiliate), I have been a homemade soda monster. If it grows, I’ll boil it with sugar and water, strain, and top the resulting syrup with fizzy water. It all started on my diet last year, when I realized that if I didn’t stay hydrated, I was going to stay chubby. Now it’s taken on a life of its own.

Steep elderflower in simple syrup

Strain out flowers after steeping

But elderflower cordial is a classic, which actually makes me a bit of a latecomer (later bloomer?). Per Wikipedia:

Historically the cordial has been popular in North Western Europe where it has a strong Victorian heritage. However, versions of an elderflower cordial recipe can be traced back to Roman times. Nowadays it can be found in almost all of the former Roman Empire territory, predominantly in Central Europe, especially in Germany, Austria, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia, where people have acquired a special taste for it and still make it in the traditional way.

A few years back, I was looking for some bushes/trees that I could harvest. Elderflower bushes ended up on my list and I planted two mail order “sticks.” One, which did poorly, languished along a tree row even though I read they were “understory” plants. And I couldn’t even remember where I planted the other (Proving you can lose plants in a 3/4 acre yard.)

Elderflower bush/Elderberry bush

This year, however, the missing elderberry burst forth with such a profusion of blossoms, I couldn’t help but rediscover it (wedged between a pear tree and the jungle plantings along the lot line). And so I made elderflower cordial! I even found some ready-to-download labels online (I shrunk them to fit my small bottle)!

Top elderflower cordial with fizzy water

The elderflower cordial is much less “flowery” than other flower syrups I’ve made. I would describe the flavor as sweet (from the sugar) and herbal. I liked it in fizzy water with a squeeze of lime—and soon, I’ll be trying some with a little vodka too. Elderflowers figure in folk medicine and some people believe they have a variety of benefits.


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