The arrival of the Elderflowers in late May/Early June, inevitably meant a big mess in the kitchen. We all made it together, as a family. It was a very pleasing process of gathering the florets, making the sugary base, and adding it altogether. After the bottling into sturdy flagons, came the painful wait for the results. Usually it was all drunk in the time it took to gather the florets. Here are two recipes. The first was handwritten and from my Grandmother’s notes. The second came from an old booklet, dated maybe around the 1930’s.
Elderflower Champagne - Version 1
2 Heads of Elderflower
1 1/2 pounds/600g White Sugar
2 tablespoonsful White Wine Vinigar
1 Gallon Water
Pick the heads when in full bloom and put into a bowl followed by the lemon juice. Cut up the rind, no white pith. Add sugar and vinegar. Add to cold water and leave for 24 hours. Strain into strong bottles. Cork firmly and lay them on their sides. After two weeks it should be ready to drink.
Elderflower Champagne - Version 2
This is the one we made at home - it uses more florets. The magic number was always 8.
8 Big Heads of Elderflower
1 Gallon/5 Litres of Cold Water
1 1/4 Pounds/500g White Sugar
2 Tablespoons of White Wine Vinagar
Boil the water and pour over the Sugar. When it's cooled, throw in the Elderflower Heads, Sliced Lemons and add the White Wine Vinegar. Let the infusion stand for 24 hours! Strain the juices and put into strong bottles. The bottles need to be really strong as the results are very fizzy indeed. The ones with the lever action corks are perfect.