I am quite lucky as I have a tree growing along my wall. The tree is young and only gives me enough flowers to make two bottles of cordial. But I am also surrounded by farms and they are heaping with elderflower trees. Cordial is a great way to preserve fruit and elderflower cordial has reached quite a cult status – Darina Allen being one of the first to sell it at her farmer’s market stall in Midleton. It is quite easy to make cordial – all you need it fruit (elderflower in this case), sugar, lemons and water and et voila, you can make cordial. The sugar syrup is what makes the cordial and it can be infused with anything really. Elderflower reminds me of summer. Long evenings al fresco and of course lovely cocktails. The shelf life is quite short – about 6 weeks but you can also freeze it in small portions (ice cube trays) and defrost it as needed.
You will need:
- 2.5g sugar (caster or granulated)
- 2 lemons
- 20 elderflower heads (cleaned)
- 85g citric acid (optional – it extends the shelf life to 6 weeks)
Combine the sugar with 1.5l water and bring slowly to a light simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring the syrup to a quick boil and turn off the heat. Pare the zest of the lemons and slice the lemons, adding all to the sugar syrup together with the flowers. Stir well to have everything covered. Stir in the citric acid if using. Cover and leave to infuse for 24hrs.
The next day, strain the syrup through a lined sieve into a sterilized bottle and seal.
Serve diluted with still or sparkling water or with a lovely glass of chilled Prosecco