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Snip off the long green stalks of the elderflower, leaving enough to hold the flower heads together. Gently rinse the flower heads in water and check for bugs.
Push the flowers into the emptied vodka bottle or a jar, tip in the sugar and leave for 1 hr.
Add the lemon zest and juice and vodka to the bottle until it is completely full with no air space, keep any excess vodka to add back later. Seal and leave for 48 hrs. You can leave it for longer, but the flavour will change – it won’t necessarily taste more elderflowery.
Pour the vodka into a large bowl through a fine sieve (use muslin or a coffee filter, if you like). Add any remaining vodka, then pour into clean, sterilised bottles. Will keep for one month.
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