Fresh and Fragrant Elderflower Cordial

Now the summer is coming in and we’re looking forward to sitting in the garden with a long, cool drink, what better recipe to try than this refreshing elderflower cordial?

Come late spring, delicate, white elderflowers appear on elder trees and hedgerows across the UK and can be turned into delicious homemade elderflower cordial.

The floral taste of this traditional syrup is wonderful with water, but also complements pastries, cakes, ice-cream and champagne or prosecco. Try adding it to these elderflower, gooseberry and lemon pancakes for the delicate taste of early summer.

Learn how to identify elderflower, where to find it and delicious recipes to make with Countryfile’s expert elderflower foraging guide.

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 20 mins


  • 1 ½kg Caster sugar
  • 1 ½l Boiled water
  • 3 Unwaxed lemons
  • 20 Elderflower heads
  • 80g Citric acid (available from health food shops or chemists)


  • Gently shake the elderflower heads to remove any insects (don’t rinse them, as it strips the pollen and flavour). Remove leaves and their stalks, but keep the elderflower heads whole.
  • Place the sugar into a saucepan, pour in the boiling water and stir until the sugar dissolves.
  • Grate the lemon rind, then slice the fruit and add to the pot. Add the citric acid and the elderflowers and stir.
  • Steep for 24–48 hours, then strain into sterilised bottles and store in a cool, dry place for up to a month. Alternatively, you can freeze it – perhaps in ice cube trays to be popped into a glass of water when you fancy a glass.
  • Dilute with water to taste – fizzy water will create the perfect summer drink.

See also: Helen Mortimer’s Honey Cake

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