How to make cordial

How to make cordial

Capture the taste of summer with our guide to making your own cordial. Get foraging for fragrant flavours, then bottle them to enjoy year round or give as a homemade gift.

Whether this is your first foray into homemade cordial or you’re a seasoned syrup maker, read on for our cookery team’s top tips to help you create the most flavoruful infusions.

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Cordials are easy to make, enjoy simply with chilled water or use them to flavour cocktails, desserts and other dishes. Use fresh flowers or fruit that have been gathered in season for the best results. 

What you need: 


Cordials are a mix of fruit, sugar, water and tartaric or citric acid. The latter ingredients are used as a preservative, they’re optional and can be bought from a chemist or health food shop. 

In terms of equipment, all you need is a sterilised bottle or jar for your cordial, a filter and clean muslin cloth or tea towel to strain the mixture through.

Cordials will keep in a cool, dark place for up to a month, or in the fridge for slightly longer. Make sure your cordial is stored correctly or it can start to ferment. It’s also fine to freeze if you want to keep it for longer.

The process:

  • Depending on your choice of fruit or florals, it will either be boiled in a sugar syrup e.g. rhubarb, or added later e.g. elderflower
  • Add any chosen flavourings to your syrup
  • Leave to infuse
  • Line a colander with muslin cloth and strain into sterilised bottles

To sterilise the bottles:

Wash the bottles with hot, soapy water, rinse, then place on a baking sheet in a low oven to dry completely.

Watch our video on how to make cordial:

Rosehip cordial in a glass jar and poured out into a glass

Flavours:

One of the most popular cordial flavours is undoubtedly elderflower, sometimes with various tasty additions. We recommend elderflower, lemon & vanilla added to a glass of sparkling water for the perfect summer cooler. Rosehips also preserve well, and mixed with hot water and honey, make a great pick-me-up.

Whatever your summer bounty, you can turn it into a sticky, sweet cordial. Gooseberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackcurrants and blackberries all work beautifully.

Recipes for your cordial:


Elderflower cordial and sugar combine to make a great topping for our elderflower crunch cake. You can also layer your cordial into a terrific trifle, a spritzer jelly or refreshing prosecco cocktail. A whole host of dishes, including syllabubs and fools, cocktails and salads can benefit from a dash of cordial. Get creative!

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What’s your favourite cordial combo? Let us know in the comments below…