Elderflower champagne is easy to make from elderflower cordial, sugar and yeast. Although it isn’t quite as aromatic as the fresh version, if you didn’t have a glass of the fresh stuff to compare it with, you’d never know the difference! If you want to make elder flower champagne out of season, or don’t have elders growing nearby, this is the easiest way to do it.
We recommend using plastic bottles for this recipe as glass bottles, even strong Grolsch-style ones, are prone to explode.
- One 750ml bottle of cordial*, homemade or shop bought
- 250g sugar
- Beer or wine yeast
- Enough fizzy drinks bottles to hold 4.5 litres of champagne
How to make elderflower champagne from cordial
- Put the sugar into a measuring jug and pour boiling water over it. Stir until it dissolves and top up to 500ml with more boiling water.
- Pour the sugar syrup into a large clean saucepan. Add the cordial and a further 3.25 litres of cold water.
- Give the mixture a good stir and transfer it to the fizzy drinks bottles.
- Add a pinch of yeast to each bottle and shake to mix it in.
- Stand the bottles in a warm place – around 21C is ideal. Loosen the tops slightly so that pressure doesn’t build up yet. In a day or two you’ll see tiny bubbles rising as fermentation begins.
- Two weeks later, screw the lids down tightly. Once this is done you will need to let the pressure off every day by unscrewing the lids gently, being careful of the froth.
- Taste the drink every few days until the sweetness has reduced to your liking. When it is just right, transfer the bottles to a refrigerator and drink within six weeks.
- Check the pressure in the stored bottles every couple of weeks. If you can’t squeeze the sides in with a good pinch, let some gas out as in step 6.
How long does it take to make?
Provided you can keep your brew warm it takes two or three weeks for the elderflower champagne to be ready to drink, depending on how sweet you like it. If you’re trying to have it ready for a party, we suggest starting four weeks before you need it.
Which sort of yeast is best?
Because the amount of alcohol in elderflower champagne is kept low (typically 1.5 to 3% ABV) you can use any kind of yeast sold for home brewing. Bread yeasts can give off flavours, and so are best avoided, but beer yeasts, wine yeasts and champagne yeasts are all fine.
* If you buy cordial in the shops it may come in 500ml bottles. If you want to base your quantities around one of these bottles, it’s 500ml cordial to 167g of sugar, and top up the mix to 3 litres with water rather than 4.5 litres.