Tuesday, 3 June 2014

How to make Elderflower cordial & the 'Hugo' cocktail

This weekend I made elderflower cordial for the very first time.  Every year I plan to make it, then I either leave it too late, or I get put off by long-winded instructions. But this year I was determined, and I'm so glad I did because it's so easy and quick to make. It would make a lovely handmade gift, (or even wedding favours in mini bottles?!) ... not to mention scrumptious Elderflower cocktails ... try the 'Hugo' recipe at the end ... it's my absolute favourite.

How to make Elderflower cordial

I headed over to see my friend Nicki as she's a dab hand at this as she makes it every year. Nicki is not only my friend, she's a fellow crafter who makes and sells lovely things from her Etsy shop, AND she's a trained reflexologist. I tried to convince her to give me a foot massage while I peeled the lemons but she wasn't having any of it! I'll hand you over to Nicki now. Do let me know how yours turns out ...

Nothing better than crafty fun in the sun with friends!
She makes lovely hops pillows  too!

This is what you need:

25 elderflower heads
1.5 litres water
1.5 Kg caster sugar
2 lemons (unwaxed if possible)
60 g citric acid

+  a wooden spoon, large saucepan, large bowl, jug(s)
clean muslin cloth or tea towel, and bottles for your cordial.


Pick your elderflowers! Choose a sunny day and pick them first thing in the morning if you can. Choose big heads of open flowers and don’t pick them all from the same tree – leave some of those flowers to become berries later in the year! Gently shake the flower heads to get rid of any insects and check the stems for wee beasties like black fly. Don’t shake the flowers so much you get rid of all the pollen though. Put the flower heads in a large bowl.

How to make Elderflower cordial


Heat the water and sugar together in a large saucepan. Bring to the boil and stir until all the sugar has dissolved. Meanwhile, remove the lemon zest from the lemons using a vegetable peeler. Cut away and discard the white pith, and slice the lemons up.


Pour the sugary water over the elderflower heads. Be careful! It’s going to be hot.

Making Elderflower cordial


Add the lemon zest and sliced lemons to the elderflowers and syrup, and stir in the citric acid. Cover and leave it all to infuse for about 24 hours. You should be able to smell the elderflowers!

How to make Elderflower cordial and Hugo cocktail


When you are ready, strain the syrup through a clean piece of muslin or a clean tea towel into a jug. (Be prepared to get sticky  - I do this in stages.) Pour into sterilised bottles (put them through the dishwasher or wash them well in hot, soapy water, rinse, and dry in an oven set in on low temperature). Then you're done! You can drink your cordial straight away. Dilute it with water (still or sparkling) or make a cocktail like the one below ... yum!

How to make a 'Hugo' Elderflower & Prosecco cocktail.

How to make an Elderflower 'Hugo' cocktail
Our wedding cocktail! Photograph by Binky Nixon.

One of my (Jodie's) favourite elderflower recipes is for the Hugo cocktail. It is simple delicious. In fact hubby and I love this refreshing summery cocktail so much we served it to our guests on our wedding day. Needless to say it went down a treat and had the mother of the bride in giggles even before dinner had been served! try it, you will love it.

Simply mix:

1 tbs of Elderflower cordial

3/4 glass of Prosecco or sparkling wine

1/4 glass sparkling water (bubblier the better!)

a few springs mint

lashings of ice

and enjoy!

JM & Nicki xx  

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