Elderflower Cordial

Elderflower Cordial

The elderflowers are back, and after last year’s success with elderflower champagne, I’m determined to make the most of this season’s bounty. The champagne is already on the go, but for more immediate satisfaction, I decided to try my hand at elderflower cordial.

Elderflower harvest

I started with Sophie Grigson’s recipe on uktv.co.uk, a simple process of soaking elderflower in a mix of water, sugar, lemon, and citric acid, and then straining into sterilised bottles.

The citric acid was a mystery ingredient for me; I had to order mine online (Amazon to the rescue). I’ve heard you can buy it at chemists / pharmacists, but when I tried this, I was told that pharmacies no longer carry citric acid because it can be used to make naughty things!

I followed one of the suggestions posted on Sophie’s recipe to cut down the sugar and lemon so that the elderflower really stands out. The result was a full-flavoured cordial, quite tart, but with a really good hit of elderflower.

Elderflower Cordial in Progress

A few people asked where my cordial gets its colour from: I attribute its golden tint to the unrefined golden caster sugar I used. You could also use white granulated sugar, but I really like the bright bold colour of mine if I do say so myself!

I served the cordial with fizzy water at a bbq last night – a tasty treat for the kids and designated drivers, all of whom asked for seconds. Success!

Elderflower Cordial

Adapted from Sophie Grigson’s recipe on uktv.co.uk. Service diluted in still or sparkling water, preferably with ice.


  • 20 heads of elderflower
  • 550g caster sugar
  • 1.2 litres water
  • 1 unwaxed lemon
  • 75 g citric acid


  1. Shake the elderflowers to expel any lingering insects, and then place in a large bowl.
  2. Put the sugar into a pan with the water and bring up to the boil, stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved.
  3. While the sugar syrup is heating, pare the zest of the lemons off in wide strips and toss into the bowl with the elderflowers. Slice the lemons, discard the ends, and add the slices to the bowl. Pour over the boiling syrup, and then stir in the citric acid. Cover with a cloth and then leave at room temperature for 24 hours.
  4. The next day, have a taste of the cordial to check if it’s sweet enough. If you find it too tart, add a bit more sugar and give it a stir, plus a few hours to really dissolve. Then taste again, repeating the process until it’s at the desired sweetness (but keep in mind, you can always add sugar to the drinks you make later, but you can’t take sugar away!).
  5. Line a sieve with muslin and rinse it in boiling water. Strain the cordial through the sieve and pour into thoroughly cleaned glass or plastic bottles. Screw on the lids and pop into the cupboard ready to use.
Makes: 1.5 litres

12 thoughts on “Elderflower Cordial

  1. Marina

    this is my favorite drink ever. I can drink it all day long. Goes so well in the summer, specially made with some sparkling water and lemon!

  2. Monica

    demuths – I've heard the citric acid isn't necessary, especially if you're drinking it right away or are storing it in the freezer. My freezer is currently full of bread, dal, pizza dough, ice cream, and other various things. I should try w/o the citric acid though… or the lemon. It would be nice to try something purely, and simply elderflower.

  3. Choclette

    I like the colour of your cordial. Feeling a bit bereft as this is the first year for ages that I haven't made any. Would very much like a glass or two of your ultra fizzy and not too sweet champagne though!

  4. Monica

    I'll have to save some champagne then for a blogger / tweeter party so we can all try some. Looking good so far, bubbling away in their bottles!

    1. Monica Post author

      It will keep for ages! Or at least an age… I was still enjoying this a year after I made it, by which time it was time to make a fresh batch with the new season elderflowers. 🙂


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