Don’t you just love the smell of elderflowers? Did you know that next to elderflower cordial you could also make a delicious elderflower champagne? And that it is extremely easy to do?
So now you know, and I bet you would like the recipe. So here it goes;
River Cottage Elderflower Champagne
(makes about 6 litres)
What do you need;
- 4 litres hot water
- 700g sugar
- Juice and zest of four lemons
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- About 15 elderflower heads, in full bloom
- A pinch of dried yeast (you may not need this)
Put the hot water and sugar in a large container, I used a cleaned bucket, and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Top up with cold water until you have 6 litres. Then add the lemon juice and zest, the vinegar and the flower heads and stir gently.
Cover with a muslin (or a tea towel) and leave to ferment for 4 days. Check after 4 days and see if the brew is becoming a little foamy, if not then add some yeast to the mixture. This is the second time I have made this and both times I have added the yeast. Leave the brew to ferment a little more for another 4 days or so.
Strain the liquid into a sieve into sterilised strong glass bottles with champagne stoppers or Grolsch-style stoppers. I placed an emphasis on strong because the first time I made Elderflower Champagne I bought cheap bottles and one of them exploded quite spectacularly. We had to resort to taking of the pressure from the other bottles which didn’t do any good to the fizz in the champagne.
Seal the bottles, put them in a cool, dark space, and leave to ferment some more for at least a week before serving chilled. The bottles should keep for a few months but I am sure they will not last that long!