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  • Writer's pictureJen

Elderflower Cordial Recipe

Updated: May 22

A selection of images showing the stages of making elderflower cordial

I must admit, I now feel like a proper country person. I made my own elderflower cordial last weekend, and I’m feeling super smug about it! I’ve wanted to try this for ages and just assumed it would be a bit of a faff, but it’s actually super easy and the cordial is delicious.

Elderflowers come into bloom at the end of May, but I found this year, due to the weather they were slightly delayed. As was every other flower in my garden as the weather was so rubbish during the Spring.

The best time to forage elderflowers is first thing in the morning on a lovely sunny day – you get the best out of the flowers when you pick them early and before it gets too hot. Choose the freshest-looking heads with frothy creamy-white flowers. Try to use them as soon as you pick them. The fresher the better!

Luckily, we have a couple of elderflower trees so I was able to easily forage the flowers. After picking the flowers, trim off the stalks so you’re just left with the flower heads and then give them a good wash in a bowl of cold water.

I’ll go into detail about the method below, but I just wanted to advise that this recipe makes approximately 2.5 litres of cordial, so ensure you have enough airtight glass bottles in which to store your cordial.

There are so many delicious ways in which you can use the cordial too! You can freeze it to use at a later date as this only really lasts for six weeks when stored in airtight glass bottles. Why not make ice-cubes that you can pop into your gin to create an elderflower gin? Or pour some into your glass of fizz. Yum! Mix your cordial with sparkling water to make elderflower pressé.

You could drizzle some over your fruit salad. Make a jelly with it. Drizzle over sorbets, or just serve in a large jug with ice-cold water over ice with added lemon slices to make it look pretty for summer gatherings. Basically my family are having elderflower everything for the next six weeks!


· Large pan with lid

· Funnel

· Ladle

· Airtight glass bottles (sterilised)

· Clean tea-towel

· Wooden spoon

· Colander

· Measuring jug

· Bowl (for washing your flowers)

· Bowl or second pan (to put under your colander when draining)

· Potato peeler (to zest the lemons)

· Plastic containers / ice-cubes trays for freezing


· 2 ½kg white sugar, either granulated or caster (I used caster)

· 2 unwaxed lemons

· 20 fresh elderflower heads, stalks trimmed

· 85g citric acid

· 1.5 litres of cold water


For this elderflower cordial recipe, you will firstly need to sterilise your glass bottles. Wash them in warm soapy water or pop them through the dishwasher. Rinse them and dry them in your oven on a low temperature.

Put the sugar and 1.5 litres/2¾ pints water into a very large pan. Heat gently, without boiling, until all of the sugar has dissolved. Give it a stir every now and again. Using a potato peeler, peel off strands of lemon zest from two lemons, then slice both lemons into rounds.

Once the sugar has dissolved, bring the pan of syrup to the boil, then remove from the heat. (You’ll see the liquid will go from cloudy to clear and will thicken to a syrup). Fill a washing-up bowl with cold water. Give the flowers a gentle swish around to loosen any dirt or bugs. Lift the flowers out, gently shake and transfer to the syrup along with the lemons, zest and citric acid, then stir well. Cover the pan and leave to infuse for 24 hrs. (The fragrance is amazing).

Line a colander with a clean tea towel, then sit it over a large bowl or pan. Ladle in the syrup – let it drip slowly through. Discard the bits left in the towel.

Make sure the bottles have completely cooled first, then using a funnel and ladle, fill your sterilised bottles.

Glass bottles filled with elderflower cordial with handmade tags

Ta da! Your delicious cordial is ready to drink straight away and will keep in the fridge for up to six weeks. Or freeze it in plastic containers or ice cube trays and defrost as needed.

Now all you have to do is grab your book, plonk yourself in a comfy chair or in the garden and enjoy your own elderflower cordial whichever way you like. Cheers!

If you would like to purchase the foraged flowers ceramic tag decoration featured in the photo above, click here.

TIP. I’ve found that elderflower cordial sits at the bottom of your glass, so give it a good ole swish with a spoon so the delicious flavour is evenly distributed.

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