The weekend was ridiculously hot in Norwich. I wandered into town on Sunday to see the Lanes Fair and quickly had to buy myself several ice creams to cool down. On my way home the walk back up the hill to mountain bakery hq was quite a struggle, only survived by what I knew was waiting for me at the other end: sweet, light and refreshing homemade elderflower cordial mixed with tonic water and ice. The king of refreshing drinks!
Elderflower is usually associated more with Spring than summer, but like the rhubarb, the season has been extended this year due to the wet and miserable weather up until this weekend, when it suddenly decided to be blisteringly hot. I strongly urge you to make this now, while the flowers are still in bud, as its a long time to wait until next year when they’ll return again.
Elderflower cordial (adapted from here)
- Four lemons, zested and chopped
- 1 kg sugar
- 1.5 litres of boiling water
- 30 large elderflower heads
- 50g citric acid (can be bought at most chemists)
Start by placing the boiling water and sugar in a large stockpot with a lid and leave the mixture to cool.
Add the finely grated zest of the lemons, and chop the remainders into large, thick slices and add them to the boiling water as well.
Finally gently shake the flower heads to remove any insects and add them to the stockpot with the citric acid, stir briefly and put the lid on tightly.
Leave the pan covered for 48 hours for the flowers to infuse fully, and then using a muslin cloth, strain the liquid and bottle it into sterilised containers.
Like jams, the sugar will preserve the cordial, so it will last for months, if you don’t find yourself supping it constantly…like me!