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Fiona’s Elderflower and lemon cordial recipe

Photo: Lemon and Elderflower cordial

Photo: Lemon and Elderflower cordial

I love drinking citron pressé on a hot summer’s day. This is the juice of half a large fresh lemon, topped up with caster sugar and ice cold water. I discovered this drink on holiday in Brittany when I was nine years old and have enjoyed it ever since.

So this year I thought it would be fun to make an Elderflower cordial with a distinct lemon kick. I’ve just finished bottling it. The result was a zingy grown up cordial that balances tangy lemon with the fragrant buzz of elderflowers. Delicious with iced water (my first teetotal sampling) and even better with a tot of vodka and a large splash of chilled fizzy water. The final combination is so good that I think that I might have to put the cordial in the barn safely out of harms way. Forget tonic water – this combination is a real winner, works out much cheaper than buying tonic and reduces the need for a slice of lemon. A lot of ice is essential.

I have used weights of ingredients as lemons and flower heads can vary enormously in size. I bought the citric acid on line. This recipe made three 75cl bottles and four 50cl bottles. Generally I cork my bottles so as to avoid the danger of exploding glass. I also store them in a cool place.

If you are looking for a more traditional version our traditional Elderflower cordial recipe is excellent.

Tips and tricks:

  • How do I sterilise a jelly bag or muslin square?
    Both can be scalded with boiling water. If you are using a clean muslin bag or square you can iron them with a hot iron. This also works with tea cloths.
  • How do I sterilise glass bottles and jars?
    The sterilising method that we used is simple. Just before making the syrup, I quickly wash and rinse the bottles and place them upside down in a cold oven. Set the temperature to 160c (140c fan-assisted). When the oven has reached the right temperature I turn off the heat. The bottles will stay warm for quite a while. Sterilise the lids by boiling these for a few minutes in water.


Fiona’s Elderflower and lemon cordial recipe
Recipe Type: Cordial
Author: Fiona Nevile
Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 48 hours
Total time: 48 hours 30 mins
Serves: 50
The people that taste this like it better than plain elderflower cordial!
  • 300g of elderflower heads (all but the tiniest stems removed). This was 50 medium and small heads from our tree.
  • 750g of chunky lemons (I bought five)
  • 2 kilos of white granulated sugar
  • 3 litres of boiling water
  • 110g of citric acid
  1. In a large heatproof bowl (or deep saucepan) pour the boiling water onto the sugar and stir. Leave to cool, stirring every now and then to dissolve the sugar.
  2. When cool add the citric acid, the lemons (zested and sliced – not squeezed) and the elderflower heads.
  3. Leave to steep for 48 hours in a fridge or a really cool place.
  4. Strain twice through sterilised muslin (how do I sterilise muslin? See Tips and tricks below)
  5. Using a jug and funnel carefully pour into hot sterilised bottles (how do I sterilise bottles? See Tips and tricks below)

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  1. Virginia

    One year I couldn’t get citric acid, so I sliced many lemons into the bin with the soaking elderflowers. Strained liquid, boiled and poured onto the sugar made excellent cordial.
    The bonus was the remaining elderflower scented lemons which I made into a marmalade, absolutely delicious.

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