Sunday, 8 June 2014

Natural fizz - Elderflower Champagne

Elderflowers.  I get slightly obsessed with using them each year but sometimes their frothy white flowers are already going slightly brown and crispy before I get organised enough to do anything about it.  But not in 2014!  I already have a batch of lemony tangy elderflower cordial in the freezer, and now it is champagne time.

If you want to follow suit, scour the hedgerows now as (in the Midlands at least) the flowers are just starting - so you should have at least a couple of weeks to get yourself geared up to make it.

I can remember my aunty making this in the early '80s and being very impressed as a teenager that you could produce a fizzy drink without the aid of the ubiquitous Soda Stream - a mod con which never got over the threshold of our house. If a television couldn't make it through the front door, I suppose a Soda Stream didn't stand a chance!

In the process of making this, I've also discovered that being a regular flower picker has the advantage of always having that rare beast, a clean bucket, to hand.  You'll need one for this recipe.

Gather together:

A clean bucket
36 heads of elderflowers (with as few bugs attached as possible!)
4.5 litres of water
680 grammes of sugar
2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
1 lemon - zest and juice needed (no pith).
Strong bottles (flip top ones good for this, or strong brewing bottles) - sterilised.

To make it: (WARNING: highly technical)

Chuck everything in the bucket and leave for  24 hours.  After this time, strain the liquid through muslin and bottle it.  The liquid will be a bit cloudy - this is normal.  Once bottled, it will start to generate fizz which you will need to release every now and then so that your bottles don't explode. Leave for about 2 weeks.

Serve chilled on a sunny day.

I think I'm going to try adding a squeeze of lime, chunks of ice and a slug of gin to make an Elderflower Tom Collins cocktail with some of mine.

Roll on summer.

No comments:

Post a Comment