Elderflower Cordial

This is very simple recipe using some fresh elder flowers foragedĀ  from the woodlands. Elderflowers are seasonal right now in Scotland and makes the best summertime refreshers. These pretty tiny flowers make some of the most delicious desserts and drinks. You can even deep fry elder flowers to make tasty fritters.

You can have this elderflower cordial with lemonade, gin, sparkling water, wine, cider…the choices are endless. Some tips on picking these flowers:

  • If possible, try to harvest them on a dry sunny day when they are in full bloom, because that is when there is extra pollen, and you’ll get maximum flavour out of it. So its important not to lose that precious pollen, this being the reason why you don’t wash these flowers before use.
  • Choose flower heads that have fully bloomed and avoid picking ones that have browned.
  • Snip off only the elder flower heads and avoid as much of the stalk as possible, it’s of no use and might actually make the cordial more bitter.
  • Wear jeans or sturdy trousers to protect yourself from nettles and brambles that grow around elder trees.
  • And, finally make sure you pick elderflowers and not cow parsley which look very similar.

In this recipe I have used citric acid. If you can’t get hold of it, that’s not a problem. Just add more lemons to the recipe. I have used citric acid because it acts as a preservative and stops the cordial from fermenting and also adds a tangy flavour.


Elderflower Cordial

June 22, 2020
: 1.2 litre
: 1 hr
: 24 hr
: 25 hr
: Easy


  • 20-25 Elderflower heads
  • 1.2 litre Water
  • 600 g Sugar
  • 2 Lemons (unwaxed)
  • 25 g Citric acid
  • Step 1 Spread out the elderflower heads on a table and let it rest, allowing any critters to come out.
  • Step 2 Into a large pan, pour in boiling water. Add sugar and stir till it dissolves.
  • Step 3 Peel and slice the lemons. Snip the elder flowers from its stalks. Keeping the stalks will make the cordial bitter. Add the flowers, lemon peel and slices to the sugar water and stir well. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave it to steep for 24 hours in a cool place, with occasional stirring.
  • Step 4 Strain the cordial through a muslin cloth or tea towel lined sieve/ colander into a large bowl. Squeeze the flowers in the cloth to get as much flavour out as possible.
  • Step 5 Serve it straight away and transfer the remaining cordial into sterilised bottles and store in the fridge or in a cool and dark place for up to 6 weeks.

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