If you look in the hedgerows today you will see a glut of elderflowers. Just the time to start making Elderflower Champagne. Low in alcohol and distinctively floral in bouquet, this bubbly wine tastes instantly refreshing, particularly on a hot summer day. It's easy to make - I made six bottles last weekend - is ready to drink in two weeks, keeps for many months and is perfect to serve at summer barbecues, parties or soires. If I can make it, anyone can!
8 litres water
1.25Kg unrefined cane sugar
8 large elderflower heads
4 lemons - washed and 2 cut into slices
4tsp white wine vinegar
- Put the sugar into a large sterilised bucket.
- Boil 8 litres of water and put it over the sugar to dissolve. Leave it to cool.
- Shake the elderflower heads to remove insects and add to the sugar solution with the juice of 2 lemons, the lemon slices and the vinegar. Cover with a clean cloth and leave for 1 day.
- Strain the mixture through a fine sieve or muslin cloth in to a clean, sterilised bucket, squeezing the flowers as you do so to release more flavour.
- Using a sterilised funnel, transfer into sterilized bottles, leaving 2cm of space at the top.
- Seal and store the bottles in a cool, dark place.
- The champagne is ready to drink in 10 to 14 days.