The Cottage Smallholder


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Angela’s recipe for elderflower champagne

photo of elderflowers and leaves

elderflowers and leaves

Elderflower champagne is easy to make. There are thousands of recipes for this summer drink so how were we going to find a really good one?

I had a sniff about on the Internet and chose High Fearnley Whittingstall’s recipe which you can see here. I wanted another recipe to compare it with so I decided to try Angela’s recipe which she posted in the comments on my recent roundup of elderflower recipes.

Although the bottles of champagne have only been standing for a few days I couldn’t resist sampling the two batches. Angela’s recipe won hands down, sorry Hugh! With immense anticipation, I took a couple of glasses up to The Rat Room for Danny to undertake a blind tasting.
“This is the winner for me. It has a wonderful bouquet and rounder flavour.”
It was Angela’s champagne that he was sampling. I can’t wait to taste it in ten days time, when it will be even better.

Angela has generously allowed me to share her wonderful recipe with you. Elderflowers are still blooming well around here so you might have the chance to make some yourself this summer. Bob Quail, another reader, mentioned that you can freeze elderflowers to make cordial or champagne later in the year.

The longer that you leave the champagne the drier and more alcoholic it will become. Weh hey!

Remember to only pick flowers with snowy white petals – brown petals can ruin elderflower recipes.

Angela’s recipe for elderflower champagne
Prep time: 20 mins
Total time: 20 mins

1. Pick the Elderflowers before 11 am, very important !!!!! After 11 am the scent is faintly….. eau de cat pee

2. Use plastic bottles, when you decant, preferably ones that have contained fizzy drinks, as they are well used to ‘gas’ inside them, and will not explode.

3.Stir the mixture 3 times a day, at least

4. After 3 or 4 days, or even 5 or 6, depending on the weather, you will see and hear fizz on top of the mixture !! Now bottle. Do not bottle before this, or your efforts will all have been futile!

5. LEAVE A SPACE at the top, of the bottle, for air. Good Luck……… and don’t forget to ‘Ask’ your Elder Flower Tree permission to take her flowers !!!!

Ingredients
  • 10 Elderflower heads ( side plate size)-I didn’t bother to remove the stalks
  • 5 litres Spring or Well Water
  • Juice of half Lemon
  • 125 mls Cider Vinegar
  • 600 g Sugar – I used white granulated sugar
  • you may need a tiny pinch of dried bread yeast
Instructions
  1. This is what I did
  2. Fill a giant nonreactive saucepan with 5 litres of cold tap water and leave it for 24 hrs get rid of the chlorine. Or boil the water to get rid of the chlorine.
  3. Heat two litres of the water and add the sugar – stir until it’s dissolved
  4. Add the rest of the water and leave to cool until barely warm
  5. Add the elderflower heads, lemon juice, cider vinegar and cover the saucepan with a clean tea towel to keep out the flies
  6. Stir several times a day.
  7. On day six there didn’t seem to be much fermentation going on so I added a small pinch of dry bread yeast. Thinks were bubbling on day 7 so I bottled the champagne in plastic PET fizzy water bottles leaving a 3 inches (6 cm) space at the top.
  8. Every morning and evening release the build up of gas from the bottles.
  9. Leave for at least two weeks. Then chill and serve.

 


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36 Comments

  1. Teresa Costanza

    hello thanks for the recipe,my batch is looking great. I have had it bottled in a cool place for 2 weeks now. do I move it all straight to the fridge or just fridge the bottles I want to drink. I am also going away fur a week so is it safe to just fridge the whole batch.

  2. Lheann Carrel-Black

    Hi, I used a slightly varied recipe. I have cloudy, bubbly, liquid in plastic previously fizzy used bottles, which are now very solid.
    Do I release gas?
    How long do I leave the liquid before it is ready? I bottled 5 full days ago.
    Many thanks Lheann

    • Angela Connolly

      I don’t release the gas, but you can let some gently out, if you want to store.
      You can drink from a week from bottling , the longer its left the stronger the taste.serve very cold .
      Enjoy!!

  3. Hi Angela (or anyone else who sees this), I’m excitedly making my first batch and alls going well – but please can you tell me if after bottling how should the bottles be stored? In daylight? In a cooler place?
    Also – is there a special way to rinse / prepare the fizzy drinks bottles prior to bottling up?
    Thanks a lot Nick :))

    • Angela Connolly

      Hello Nick. Just give the bottles a really good swish out with water, yes store in a cool dark place, and serve really cold, like champagne.
      I serve mine from the fridge, after a couple of days in there, good luck, enjoy.

      • Thanks so much for your reply Angela – I’ve only just seen this, so had the bottles on the kitchen worktop and been having to let the gas out every couple of hours lol …. into the dark they go now :))

  4. So excited its day 2 of my first ever batch. (1 previous attempt was a disaster) couple of questions. I can hear fizzing in the pan but when i stir it theres no bubbles in the liquid. Am I being impatient. And things will happen on day 5?? Also once bottled do you have to wait 2 weeks to serve? Or can you dip into it now for a weaker sweeter blend??

    • Angela Connolly

      Leave it a while longer, it’s getting there… When its truly ready it will fizz when stirred, and if you put your ear to it you can hear the bubbles popping
      You can actually drink straight away, but its weaker, still good though
      Good luck

  5. Lesley

    Hi, Can you put champagne into a flip top bottle

    • A Angela connoly

      I think you mean the beer bottles with metal hinge and stopper?
      Yes I would imagine so, any bottle that has contained fizzy drinks

  6. Hello Angela, I am looking forward to trying this. How long does one need to keep burping the bottles for? Secondly, does it have to be stored in the fridge, or is a cool, dry place OK?

    • A Angela connoly

      What do you mean by burping sorry lost in translation here? If you mean letting out the gas, I actually don’t let any gas out? Hope this helps

      • Hi, yes, I meant briefly letting the gas out. I have been doing that once a day for the first three days after bottling, then twice a week. I was concerned about the bottles exploding!

      • A Angela connoly

        Yes it should still be delish, please note all readers, I don’t use a pinch of yeast, which it now states at the bottom. Of my ingredients? Don’t know where that came from…. The flower s have natural pollen, and the yeast is in that.

  7. Not sure how sparkly my batch is going to be, but I do want to share that I found using a sterilized coffee plunger SUPER helpful when filtering the liquid into bottles. Good luck everyone!

    • A Angela connoly

      That is a clever idea…thank you

    • Marian L. Newton

      Can I bottle it in glass bottles?

      • Danny

        Angela emailed us to say:
        Yes you can, use bottles that have previously contained liquids with fizz

      • Arthur edwards

        Use only champagne bottles wine bottles will explode

  8. Rachael Sheppard

    Hello there. Ognna start this tomorrow. How long does it last for please?

    • Angela Connolly

      Lasts up until next year, when you will hopefully be starting a new batch..Good Luck Rachael.

  9. Dovile

    I moved houses in October last year and I have just realised this spring that we have a mahoosive elder trea in our garden! Now looking for THE tecipe for elderflower champagne naturaly. This recipe looks really good except for the vinegar… There are a few things that I dislike more than vinegar. So I am wondering if vinegar is necessary in this recipe and if it is – why? It sounds like a fairly large amount. Can you taste any ‘vinegaryness’ in the finished drink? Many thanks!

  10. Amanda Berrisford

    Hi I feel a twit to ask this but I have followed the recipe and method but after 5 days nothing was happening so I risked leaving the brew for 5 days more whilst I went on a short break. I have returned to a Brew with a head of Mould on the top …. My fellow forager says that’s how it goes and will be fine to bottle …. What do you think?

    • Skim off the mouldy head and taste the liquid underneath- if it tastes okay, ie not vinegary then should be fine. This is after experience of it being fine, and really unpleasant!

    • Angela Connolly

      Hello Amanda, It should be ok , give it a good stir around, to disperse the yeast that has settled on top, then bottle it….if it smells Ok that is a good indicator..if it has actually gone ‘green’ mouldy throw it away.

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