Cordially yours

You may have noticed great big clusters of whitey-cream flowers appearing on trees here and there. They are elderflowers, and we’re lucky enough to have a tree in our garden, so the other day I made some elderflower cordial. Before you start thinking I’ve gone all domestic goddess on you, it’s incredibly easy to make.

Before you even think about doing the same, make sure you’ve actually got elderflowers on your hands. They should look like this:

To make the cordial (and do give it a try, it’s delicious, costs you only the price of sugar and lemons, and tastes like summer in a bottle), here’s what you do:


  • 1k /2 ΒΌ lbs sugar
  • 1.5 litres / 6 cups boiling water
  • 4 medium lemons, washed
  • 30 large Elderflower heads, shake to remove any insects
  • 55g / 2 oz citric acid (available from a chemist or from Lakeland/Waitrose)


  • Place the sugar into a large saucepan. Pour the boiling water over and stir until all the sugar has dissolved and leave to cool.
  • Grate the rind of the lemons with a fine grater, add to the sugar water.
  • Slice the lemons into thick slices and add to the water. Add the citric acid and stir, then finally add the flower heads to the water and stir again.
  • The mixture steeping
  • Cover with a clean cloth and leave to steep for 48 hours.
  • Strain through clean fine muslin cloth into a clean bowl (I strain it loads of times as I am very insect-averse)
  • Strain through muslin
  • Fill sterilized bottles which you have warmed in a moderate oven or have just got out of the dishwasher. Seal and store in a cool, dark place.
Ready to go
Lovely on a hot day with loads of ice – and possibly a large dollop of gin or vodka!


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