The lightly perfumed, creamy-white flowers of the elder tree appear in abundance at the beginning of Summer. The fresh flowers make a terrific fragrant and refreshing aromatic cordial. It is so easy to make and is streets ahead of anything you can buy. This elderflower cordial is perfect diluted with sparkling water or even nicer in a summer party cocktail.
– 1000g caster sugar
– 1 lemon
– 10 medium heads of elderflower
– 45g citric acid (available in chemists)
– 750ml water
1. Place the water and sugar into a large pot and slowly heat without boiling until the sugar is dissolved, once dissolved, bring to the boil and turn off the heat.
2. Using a vegetable peeler, pare the rind and cut the lemon into slices.
3. Soak the elderflower heads in cold water to remove any dirt or little bugs.
4. Gently remove from the water and using scissors to remove as many of the flower heads as possible and throw away the stalks as this gives the cordial a bitter taste.
5. I always allow the water to cool slightly before I add the elderflower as I find if you add it to boiling water it tends to discolour the flowers and you are left with a dull coloured cordial.
6. Add the elderflower to the warm water along with the lemon zest, slices and citric acid and leave to marinate for 24 hours.
7. After this period, place a clean kitchen cloth over a bowl or jug and ladle the cold syrup into the cloth allow to drizzle through, discard the bits left in the towel.
8. Pour this cordial into sterilised bottles and this will keep in the fridge for up to 6 weeks, alternatively you can also freeze the cordial in ice trays and pop them out when needed.
I love to serve in a tall glass with crushed ice, lemon, cucumber and top up with sparkling water!
Pointers when collecting the elderflower:
1. Always look for heads which are in bloom and have ample white flower as this is where the flavour comes from.
2. I always collect elderflower in the morning if possible as I find it is more fragrant and I try and avoid collecting it after its been raining.
Shane Smith hails from Co Cavan and has been cooking his way around Ireland and further afield for the past 16 years, starting his training in Co. Donegal in Tourism College Killybegs and then extending his studies to Galway Mayo Institute of Technology graduating with a degree in Culinary Arts, specialising in Pastry.
Shane has been very fortunate to have worked in and ran the pastry sections in some of Ireland’s leading 5* hotels and restaurants. Shane can be spotted all over the country carrying out his fun, interactive demonstrations with some of Ireland’s leading chefs. In September 2015, Shane was honoured to be awarded the title of “Best Bakery Manager in Ireland” in conjunction with Shelflife magazine and most recently has landed a cookery slot on Sunday AM where he can been seen regularly bringing his natural flare and love for all things sweet from the TV3 studios into the nation’s homes.