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How to Make Elderflower Cordial

Author: Alex Jones


  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 lemon juiced and zested
  • 1/2 teaspoon citric acid available online or from many South Asian grocers
  • 12-15 large elderflower heads


  • Harvest the elderflower heads, ideally in late morning. Look for those with mostly if not all open buds; skip any with browning blooms. Snip the heads directly into a clean paper bag. Get them home and process as soon as possible or within a few hours to avoid losing the aroma.
  • Using scissors, trim the elderflowers from the heads, removing as much green stem as possible from the blossoms. Place the flowers into a medium glass bowl. Discard stems.
  • In a small saucepan, combine water and sugar. Bring to a boil and stir so that all sugar is dissolved. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  • While the simple syrup is cooling, scrub, dry, and zest the lemon, then add the zest to the bowl with the flowers. Juice the lemon and add to the flower mixture, then add the citric acid.
  • Once the syrup has cooled, pour it over the flower mixture and give it a gentle stir.
  • Cover the bowl tightly with a dish towel so that no insects, debris, or other contaminants can get into it. Let steep at room temperature for three days.
  • By the third day, the elderflowers will have begun to brown and the aroma should be powerful. Place cheesecloth into a fine mesh strainer and position the strainer over a medium bowl. Pour the elderflower mixture through the strainer, taking care to squeeze out every last bit of cordial from the cheesecloth.
  • Bottle and enjoy. Refrigerate unused cordial for up to a month.