Recipes - Elderflower Champagne
This is a great summer brew. Refreshing and zingy, ideal on a warm summers day.
In season around the end of May, The best Elderflowers are picked when they’re white and newly opened. The older creamy ones are riper and should be avoided. Pick the fresh heads and leave the creamy ones alone to finish their work so that (come autumn) we’ll have a good harvest of berries to use. Best Served in a glass jug with plenty of Ice.
Based on a recipe from River Cottage
Large pan (big enough to boil 6 litres of water)
2 kg sugar
30 elderflower heads
4 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
Approx 16 Litres of bottled water (or tap water dependant on your water).
Sanitise and rinse all equipment.
1. Boil 4 litres of water and dissolve the sugar.
2. Transfer into a sanitised brewing bin and add top up with water to the 16 ltr mark.
2. Add the lemon juice and zest, the vinegar and the flower heads and stir gently.
3. Add the yeast once cooled to 20c and stir.
4. Cover and leave to ferment for around 2 weeks.
5. Strain the liquid through a sieve lined with muslin and syphon into sterilised bottles.
6. Seal and leave to ferment in the bottles for a further eight days before serving, chilled.
You must check your bottles EVERY day and might need to release any build up of pressure or you may have an explosion to contend with which can be dangerous if you are using glass! It is easy to spot plastic PET bottles starting to expand and swell, just turn the cap and let some pressure out before resealing.
If you wish to make smaller/larger batches then adjust the ingredients accordingly. This will make a drink of approx 4% ABV. You may wish to add more Elderflowers dependant on taste and strength of your local supply.
Dried Elderflowers can be used instead of fresh at a conversion rate of 25g/4.5 litre.
Open with care, ideally outside as they do have a tendancy to fizz over, especially if not very chilled. If using glass bottles handle with care in case of explosion. Alternatively use PET bottles or recycled champagne bottles as there is less risk of explosion.
Standard wine bottles are not suitable.
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