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Elderflower Champagne

This is a great summer drink which my mother used to mass produce if the year was good. The best year I remember produced six batches (150 litres !!) and we finished the last of it at Christmas. Below is the recipe I scribbled on a a scrap of paper about 15 years ago.

(makes 25 litres)


Pick the elderflowers when fully out and shake to remove insects. Place the flowers in a cloth bag, seal it and put it into the water with the sugar, vinegar, juice and zest from the lemons. Mix well, cover and stand for 72 hours. Bottle and leave for 2 weeks releasing the fizz every couple of days or the bottles will burst.

Interestingly I priced the sugar, lemons and a whole bottle of vinegar as 2.88 on the bottom of the paper. It's not that cheap now....

At home we collected glass lemonade bottles, cleaned and used them. I have used plastic fizzy drink bottle since. Sometimes the brew will not go fizzy but when it does beware. You really do have to release the pressure regularly. The plastic bottles I used would not stand up as the pressure rounded out the bottoms, but they did not burst and a friend in the know told me recently that they will stand quite a high pressure. At home I have known glass bottles explode on very rare occasions, and for the tin screw tops to be blown off. If you release the fizz and don't leave the bottles in a warm place you should be alright.

You can reduce the amounts in proportion and make smaller batches. The drink is ideal for barbecues with plenty of ice.

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Last updated by : Andy Jackson on 08/12/13
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