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Member recipe

Elderflower champagne

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(3 ratings)

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Servings

Serves 1 - 6 Litres

Make your own bubbly with this elderflower champagne recipe from River Cottage Spring

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Ingredients

  • * 4 litres hot water
  • * 700g sugar
  • * Juice and zest of four lemons
  • * 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • * About 15 elderflower heads, in full bloom
  • * A pinch of dried yeast (you may not need this)

Method

    1. Put the hot water and sugar into a large container (a spotlessly clean bucket is good) and stir until the sugar dissolves, then top up with cold water so you have 6 litres of liquid in total.
    2. Add the lemon juice and zest, the vinegar and the flower heads and stir gently.
    3. Cover with clean muslin and leave to ferment in a cool, airy place for a couple of days. Take a look at the brew at this point, and if it’s not becoming a little foamy and obviously beginning to ferment, add a pinch of yeast.
    4. Leave the mixture to ferment, again covered with muslin, for a further four days. Strain the liquid through a sieve lined with muslin and decant into sterilised strong glass bottles with champagne stoppers (available from home-brewing suppliers) or Grolsch-style stoppers, or sterilized screw-top plastic bottles (a good deal of pressure can build up inside as the fermenting brew produces carbon dioxide, so strong bottles and seals are essential)
    5. Seal and leave to ferment in the bottles for at least a week before serving, chilled. The champagne should keep in the bottles for several months. Store in a cool, dry place.

Comments, questions and tips

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tom1460
23rd Jun, 2016
Is it ok to out the stems in with the flowers of do I have to take the flower heads of individually please
bakingfool
11th Jul, 2015
This works best if your water is not chlorinated; perhaps the chlorine kills the yeast.
AdeleTheSmell's picture
AdeleTheSmell
29th Jun, 2016
I know that using tap water that has sat overnight is recommended for sourdough starters etc, to ensure the chlorine evaporates off, but that is because the chlorine will kill the bacteria rather than the yeast. This recipe calls for hot water, so the chlorine will be evaporated already.
tom1460
23rd Jun, 2016
Call me daft but is it ok to put the stalks in also with the flowers not massive stalks thanks
AdeleTheSmell's picture
AdeleTheSmell
29th Jun, 2016
Yes, adding the stalks is fine.
holliebenn
6th May, 2015
3.8
I would suggest releasing some of the gas every so often once bottled to prevent bottles exploding, as happened to me! Even using strong glass bottles! The second time I made this, I also weighed down the flowers using a clean bowl to prevent them moulding as they did the previous year. Meant the finished product tasted much nicer! Nice, easy and inexpensive way to have some booze.
AdeleTheSmell's picture
AdeleTheSmell
29th Jun, 2016
I use plastic bottles that previously contained fizzy water, I released the gas ever so often, but not sure it was necessary, just seemed like a sensible precaution as I could see the bottle was bulging and it was reassuring to see and hear that the yeast was still working it's magic.
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