With Summer now well under way it is the perfect time to go foraging for some Elderflower heads to use in a very special Elderflower champagne recipe.
By following this recipe you will be able to produce a clear, sparkling drink which is not too strong yet which is still alcoholic.
From start to finish you should have your Elderflower champagne ready to drink within about 14 days, not bad going considering some alcoholic drinks will take several months before they are ready.
The white flowers of the Elder tree should be very distinctive and will have a very recognisable smell (hopefully you have tasted Elderflower before, as some sort of drink).
Elderflower Champagne Recipe
This recipe will produce around 6 litres of Elderflower Champagne
16 Elderflower heads (roughly)
4 litres of hot water
Juice and zest of 4 lemons
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
A pinch of dried yeast (not essential)
Instructions For Making Elderflower Champagne:
1. Pour the hot water into a clean bucket and add in the sugar. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Add 2 litres of cold water to the mixture.
2. Add the white wine vinegar, lemon juize and zest, and then add the Elderflower heads. Stir the mix gently to combine the ingredients.
3. Place a section of muslin over the bucket and move to a cool and airy place to allow it to ferment for a couple of days. Check the bucket to see if fermentation has taken place (the liquid will become foamy and a little frothy). If no fermentation has begun to take place then add a pinch of dry yeast to the mixture.
4. Check the mixture again in 4 days when it should have fermented as much as possible. It should now be ready to bottle. To do this, strain the mixture through a sieve lined with muslin and into a sterilised container. It is best to use something strong as the build up of Carbon Dioxide can cause the bottles to explode. It is also recommended that you use champagne stoppers, or sterilised screw-top plastic bottles, to keep the container sealed throughout the extra fermentation period.
5. Make sure the bottles are properly sealed and leave them for at least 7days before drinking. Elderflower champagne is best served chilled after this length of time, and should be kept in a cool and dry place. It should keep in the bottles for about 5 months. Enjoy!