Sunday, 22 May 2011

Elderflower Champagne

Although rhubarb champagne is delicious, I do adore elderflower champagne. It's crisp, fresh, fragrant and incredibly fizzy. The season for elderflowers seems very short when I do so look forward to making champagne. It is the start of summer and fills the trees with frothy white flowers. Charlie likes to help and chooses the best blooms and is truly adorable when he puts the flowers to his nose and says,
"Mmmm smells like champagne" and he is quite right, the flowers do smell just like the pan full of flowers, sugar, water, lemon and vinegar. We are already on our second batch with the first bottles ready to drink in just a couple of days. Similar to the rhubarb champagne, this elderflower brew is just as explosive and the gas needs to be vented every day.

Elderflower Champagne Recipe

15 heads of elderflowers
4l of hot water and 2l of cold
700g of sugar
2 tbs of white wine vinegar
The juice and rind of 4 lemons
A pinch of yeast

It is best to pick the elderflowers when the are in full bloom, about this time of year is perfect. Dissolve the sugar in the hot water in a large pan then add the cold water. Stir in the rest of the ingredients and cover with a clean muslin cloth. Leave for 2 days. If it has not started to ferment at this point, add a pinch of yeast, cover and leave for four more days. Strain the mixture through the muslin cloth and bottle. I use some swing top bottles especially for elderflower champagne as well as empty screw top wine bottles. I sometimes even use recycled squash bottles, although they are not really strong enough. Please be sure to vent the gas daily to avoid explosion or loosing too much of the champagne as fizz, when you are ready to drink it. Once you have bottled it, leave for at least a week before drinking although it will last for a few months.

If you are visiting from my Etsy store, live locally and would like to buy some please contact me and I'll drop off a bottle on my bike. Perfect for those long lazy summer evenings.

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