Summer is the time of year that the countryside is very generous with us if we are willing to take it up on its bounty!
Elderflowers are in full bloom at the moment and give us an opportunity to take advantage.
Elderflower champagne is a delicious lightly sparkling alcoholic drink perfect for a refreshing summer tipple. When it is brewed it will have an alcohol content between 3% and 5%.
Leave some flower on the bush as each flower head will turn into elderberries in the autumn which we can make delicious deep elderberry syrup and cordials from.
- 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
- Put the hot water and sugar into a large container and stir until the sugar dissolves, then top up with cold water so you have 6 litres of liquid in total.
- Add the lemon juice and zest, the vinegar, pinch of yeast and the flower heads and stir gently.
- Cover with clean muslin and leave to ferment in a cool, airy place for a couple of days.
- Leave the mixture to ferment, again covered with muslin, for a further four days. Strain the liquid through a sieve lined with muslin and decant into sterilised glass kilner style bottles or sterilized screw-top plastic bottles (a good amount of pressure can build up inside as the fermenting brew produces carbon dioxide, so strong bottles and seals are essential)
- Seal and leave to ferment in the bottles for at least a week before serving, chilled. The champagne should keep in the bottles for several months. Store in a cool, dry place.
Enjoy chilled on its own or mix it with a little ice and gin with a sprig of rosemary for a delicious cocktail!