In truth this is just a fizzy drink! I consider the Elderflower to be one of the most useful plants known to man. You can use the flowers to make drinks and cosmetics or fritters, the berries make a passable wine, cordial and can be used for natural dyeing. I am also informed the wood is pretty useful to but am not into woodwork so don’t know. I do know that Elder has a lot of mythology associated with it, and in the depths of my memory I have something bubbling about it being bad firewood. I will look it up. Naturally as it is such a useful plant the Council seems to take great pleasure in chopping it down. Every time I find a reliable source of flowers along comes the Council and next year I find it over- enthusiastically cut back! I have gone through ten sites so far. Fortunately its common, although it won’t be for long if the local Council have anything to do with it! Quite why they have this obsession with Elderflower I don’t know!
I have been making this for a few years now, with reliable results. I Googled ‘Elderflower Champagne’ on the net and came across discussions groups where people seem to have terrible problems with exploding bottles! I don’t know how they make it so difficult!
The moral of the story is that this is a fizzy drink so should be bottled in a suitable container. If you put it in a plastic lemonade bottle then it should be fine. (How some of these people managed to get these to explode is beyond me) If it looks as though too much pressure is building just open the top briefly to expel some gas. I have never had to do this yet! In the past I have bottled it in fizzy wine bottles. And survived!
I have been collecting a few flower heads for this recipe. Having read the problems some people have had I have this year, for the first time, put half in plastic containers and the rest in bottles!
2 heads of open elderflowers
1 lemon, juice and rind.
750 g or 1 and a half pounds white sugar
60 ml or 2 fluid ozs white wine vinegar
Rub bunches of elderflower heads together and place the florets in a bowl or bin, followed by the lemon juice, thinly peeled and cut up rind, sugar and vinegar.
Add cold water to make up the volume to 5 litres ( 1 gallon) and stir to dissolve the sugar. Leave covered for 24 hours.
Strain into strong screw top or heavy champagne bottles. Leave for two weeks at 20 degrees C when this drink should be semi sparkling and ready to drink.
If you are of a nervous disposition or of a dramatic nature you could wrap it in a duvet or whatever so if it does explode it contains any mess. I must admit as yet I have never found this necessary, but it seems some people out there are doomed to catastrophe.
Please note these are UK measurements.