Late May until early July is the time of year you'll find Elder trees in bloom. You'll see their cream-coloured, lacy flowers growing wild along roadsides and in fields and hedgerows. Every year my brother Éanna, who lives in the countryside, makes Elderflower Cordial and always kindly gives us a bottle as a gift. It is one of my favourite summer drinks and every year, after I drain the last of the bottle, I promise myself I'll get around to making some of my own so that I can enjoy it for longer.
Today, I finally got around to trying it. Or rather - Sábha did.
Sábha is a huge fan of elderflower cordial too and after a visit to my brother during the week where we drank copious amounts if his delightful brew, Sábha announced that she would like to make some of her own. So she gathered a handful of low hanging blooms growing in the hedgerow and I asked my brother how we could go about making it. He described the method he uses and when we got home we prepared the flowers, added Sábha's special twist on it and left the lot to steep overnight.
At this point I thought Sábha would probably forget about it and I'd find myself chucking out a mouldy concoction a few days later. Like the 'perfume' she makes me from time to time. So I didn't photograph any of the process. But she didn't forget at all and we now have a delicious bottle and a half of Sábha's Summer Elderflower Syrup to enjoy once we've savoured the last of Éanna's bottle.
She prepared and made it all by herself and only allowed me to help with the one part a five-year-old CANNOT do - transferring the boiling hot liquid to the containers. She is thrilled with herself and I am very proud of her.
Here's her recipe, if you'd like to try it yourself. It's so easy, a five-year-old can make it!
Sábha's Simple Summer Elderflower Syrup
A small bunch of Elderflower heads
1 Litre of water
1 Lime (Sábha's special addition!)
600g Sugar (Yes, it's A LOT.) (We used caster sugar, but granulated is fine)
Snip any long stalks from the elderflower heads and pop them in a saucepan. Cover with the water. Squeeze the juice from the lemon and lime into the pot. We also scraped out the pith and added it and the skin to the water too. Leave to steep overnight or for up to 48 hours. (we did the latter)
The next day, strain the liquid through a muslin/sieve into a jug. Rinse out the pot and return the liquid to it, adding the sugar and place on a medium heat. Heat and stir the liquid until the sugar is all dissolved and the liquid is just beginning to boil. There may be some froth as you do this. You can remove it if you fancy. We didn't bother and it cleared after a little while.
Return the liquid to a (pyrex) jug and pour into airtight, sterilised bottles. Or a kilner-style jar... if you only have one bottle...
Store in a cool dark place.
We drink ours with ice-cold sparkling water and it's divine!
I also, may or may not have added a 'shot' of it to my G&T this evening and it is certainly going down well.
See below for other recipes I have shared:
To see how I made the chopping board featured, click HERE.