Homemade elderflower cordial

Homemade elderflower cordial

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(17 ratings)

Prep: 20 mins Cook: 10 mins Plus picking and 24 hours steeping


Makes about 4 litres
Fragrant and refreshing, elderflower cordial is simple to make. Mix with soda water, or add to sparkling wine to start a summer party in style

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per 250ml

  • kcal619
  • fat0g
  • saturates0g
  • carbs165g
  • sugars165g
  • fibre0g
  • protein0g
  • salt0.03g
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  • 2½ kg white sugar, either granulated or caster



    Honey and syrups made from concentrated fruit juice were the earliest known sweeteners. Today,…

  • 2 unwaxed lemons



    Oval in shape, with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile fruits…

  • 20 fresh elderflower heads, stalks trimmed
  • 85g citric acid (from chemists)


  1. Put the sugar and 1.5 litres/2¾ pints water into the largest saucepan you have. Gently heat, without boiling, until the sugar has dissolved. Give it a stir every now and again. Pare the zest from the lemons using a potato peeler, then slice the lemons into rounds.

  2. Once the sugar has dissolved, bring the pan of syrup to the boil, then turn off the heat. Fill a washing up bowl with cold water. Give the flowers a gentle swish around to loosen any dirt or bugs. Lift flowers out, gently shake and transfer to the syrup along with the lemons, zest and citric acid, then stir well. Cover the pan and leave to infuse for 24 hrs.

  3. Line a colander with a clean tea towel, then sit it over a large bowl or pan. Ladle in the syrup – let it drip slowly through. Discard the bits left in the towel. Use a funnel and a ladle to fill sterilised bottles (run glass bottles through the dishwasher, or wash well with soapy water. Rinse, then leave to dry in a low oven). The cordial is ready to drink straight away and will keep in the fridge for up to 6 weeks. Or freeze it in plastic containers or ice cube trays and defrost as needed.

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Comments (40)

tastetest's picture

I followed the recipe but thought 85g of citric acid was an awful lot. I've made this before and it turned out well. This time its so sour and bitter! I think it was far too much citric acid. Its unusable. Very disappointing after all that trouble.

Januarysmall's picture

Why does my cordial have white fluff in it? I have strained twice through Muslin but it keeps coming back? I did use a Jamie Oliver recipe which required no citric acid please some help?

paulosman's picture

Just made my first ever Elder flower Cordial. the recipe was easy to follow and the end product taste is great. OK so i used more flowers than stated. however the finished cordial is cloudy but the taste is great

VVIT's picture

I add a little vodka to the finish syrup to preserve it. An ounce of vodka to a quart of syrup. Works great.

isa88's picture

I made this using about 200g (40 to 50 heads) and the same quantities of everything else. I grated the zest rather than peeled it and let it marinate for 36 hours. The result is such a thick and rich syrup. I drink it with badoit water, my favorite drink! have told other people to hurry up to pick the flowers too!

suehewitt17@gmail.com's picture

I made this for the first time this summer and will definitely make next season! However I doubled the amount of elderflower heads and the time for infusing and the result was gorgeous.

Jod880's picture

What a fab, easy recipe! I did pass it twice as it was still quite cloudy after the first sieving. Totally delicious I'm looking forward to trying it with lost of different drinks!

Julescat5's picture

Just made this for the first time and it is delicious. I'm a real fan of elderflower cordial and usually drink Bottle Green but this recipe is even better and so easy. Thoroughly recommend it.

Julescat5's picture

Just made this for the first time and it is delicious. I'm a real fan of elderflower cordial and usually drink Bottle Green but this recipe is even better and so easy. Thoroughly recommend it.

martawillcox's picture

We used about 100 heads of elderflower with the recipe above and the taste is exceptional! Highly recommended, if you can get that many! We got citric acid at a local asian foods mini-mart.

penwithian's picture

I've made this for a few years now. As I knew I would be moving house last summer I made a huge batch two years ago and we are still using it now. It is as good now as when it was bottled.

Rhymed's picture

Loved the tip to use it as a dressing for fruit salad! We have a huge tree at the bottom of our garden and we've possibly been a bit too excited about our crop this year. (We may have made 16 pints!) Our fridge is currently groaning with all the bottles, but I've had a really good tip from a veteran "brewer" that it's freezeable!

Elderflower cordial has to be one of my favourite drinks. Looking forward to summer!

Niko Sok's picture

I prepare this syrup every year and my children love it! It's surprisingly easy and very cheap. I always put Elderflower labels on my bottles to make them more attractive.

jhammerton's picture

You can buy citric acid in Wilko -- it's in their 'Home Brewing' section.

jaywalker's picture

I got my citric acid on ebay.

Hairlines's picture

I made last week and its lovely but I'm having a problem with it freezing is there any tips or have I done something wrong.
Just going to start sieving a batch of black currant cordial hope it tastes as good!!

freyajane9's picture

Very easy and quick to make. Delicious especially in cocktails.

last edited: 11:29, 24th Jun, 2013
pictishlass's picture

I had a problem buying citric acid from the pharmacy a few years ago, but then remembered that you can usually get it from shops that sell wine making equipment.

bekkipain's picture

used 2kg sugar, bowl not big enough for any more! Its delicious esp over ice with sparking water. Found citric acid at the local chemist but it was under the counter so i had to ask! Def dont need much just a large splash in a glass.


Questions (6)

mikado10's picture

has anyone tried making cordial from the flowers of Sambuca niger? It is the "first cousin" of elderflower and has pink flowers. I thought it might produce a cordial with a rosy glow. Has anyone tried this yet? Or shall I be the pioneer?!

peter41053's picture

Where do you get citric acid, the pharmacies around me (Kilmarnock) just shake their heads and say "oh we don't stock that anymore"?

mikado10's picture

I assume you have tried Boots. They should order it for you. Also try a home brew shop.

dorojk's picture

Similar problem to Debbie H 31 May 2014. Is it safe to drink?

dorojk's picture

Was there an answer to Debbie.H.'s question on 31 May 2014? I have a similar problem, my bottles, after only two weeks in the fridge, unopened, contain suspended "clouds". If I found that in a commercially produced bottle, I would throw it away. Is this safe to drink?

Debbie.H.'s picture

Help needed please!
I made this five days ago and it's delicious, today I got a bottle out of the fridge and it was full of suspended floating bits. I looked at another unopened bottle and it too looks the same. I followed the recipe to the letter, what's gone wrong?

Tips (3)

Collies's picture

This cordial keeps well I have some left from last year I need to strain it but it tastes great I think the citric acid helps to proserve it

deborahpeirce's picture

I have been making elderflower cordial for many years so thought I would share a few tips. I buy my citric acid in 1kg bags from Amazon, it is quite reasonably priced and has a use-by date of several years. I have found that if you freeze it in small quantities (I use 500ml water bottles) it freezes perfectly, however if it is possible to preserve it using Campden Tablets (used in wine making, also from Amazon) 2 tabs for the recipe above.
I also make a lemon and elderflower marmalade from the leftover fruit which is fabulous. For this reason, I double the number of lemons and reduce the citric acid to 50g. After straining, pick out the elderflowers as best as you can, weigh the fruit, put in the food processor and chop quite finely but not so much that is just a mush. Place fruit in a saucepan with the same weight of granulated sugar and bring to the boil, simmer until set-point is reached. Would love to hear how you get on!

JanBeal's picture

Brilliant! Very sweet, so you don't need much. As it's so sweet, I would suggest adding many more elderflower heads for more elderflower taste. That way, you can use less cordial but still have plenty of flavour. I wasn't able to remove all the little bugs before adding the flowers to the syrup, so there were a few aphids left in the teatowel. Didn't seem to matter! Was only able to make 3 litres of cordial with the amounts in the recipe.