Tasting England: Elderflower Champagne Recipe

Elderflower Champagne Recipe

This Elderflower Champagne recipe is very close to my heart. Not only am I sharing a taste of my home country, England, I’m also sharing a drink that I first used for my wedding in Oxfordshire. It’s a low budget, high impact recipe that will have all of your friends (and probably some strangers) queuing up to come over. It’s a true taste of summer.

Here’s how to make your very own 25 litres of Elderflower Champagne.

Elderflower Champagne Recipe 25 Litres
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Recipe: Elderflower Champagne (makes 25 litres)

The strength of this drink is around 6-8 ABV (like a strong beer). You can make it weaker by adding less sugar. The best time to pick the elderflower is usually May – June.

Ingredients:

  • Elderflower heads (see further down)
  • Eight unwaxed lemons (the big, juicy ones from a local farm shop are best)
  • 2.75kg of granulated sugar (separated into two bowls; 2.5kg for the mixture and 25g for the bottling)
  • 25 litres of water (12.5 litres boiled and 12.5 litres cold)
  • 8 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons of yeast nutrient
  • 1 sachet of Champagne yeast

Tools:

Method:

1. Collect the Elderflower

Venture out to the countryside on a sunny morning. You’ll need to choose a day when it has been dry the day before too. You’re looking for elderflower trees – they’re not usually too tall and should have small bunches of elderflower on the branches.

Near to Northamptonshire? You’ll find it here (no. 3)

Elderflower Champagne 001
Elderflower Champagne Recipe


Once you’ve found the trees, you’ll need to collect 50 bunches in a bag or bucket. Cut the bunch from the branch using scissors – you don’t need to leave much stalk. Be careful not to be too rough with the elderflower as you want it to retain the pollen.


Be fussy with which bunches make it into your collection. The elderflower should be white in colour with yellow pollen (the pollen gives you the flavour). If you can, avoid roadside elderflower to ensure you get the best taste possible.

Elderflower Champagne Recipe
Elderflower Champagne Recipe

2. Juice and Cut

Back home, zest and juice the lemons into bowls – one for the zest and one for the juice.

Elderflower Champagne Recipe


Put the bowls to one side. Next, remove the stalks from the bunches of elderflower heads and put the heads into a bowl lined with muslin. Rather than cutting each individual bit, simply gather the stalks of one bunch together and cut. Repeat until you’ve done all fifty. You won’t need the stalks.

Elderflower Champagne Recipe


Place the zest into the muslin lined bowl with the elderflower. Gently toss together.

Elderflower Champagne Recipe
Elderflower Champagne Recipe

Using the excess muslin on the edges, tie it up. Take it to one side and shake. Warning – small insects and bugs may crawl out from the bag! Leave it on the side whilst you do the next bit of this recipe.

Elderflower Champagne Recipe

3. Create the Mixture

If you haven’t already, sterilise the bucket using the sterilising agent.

Elderflower Champagne Recipe


Boil half the water (12.5 litres) in a large saucepan on the hob. Dissolve 2.5kg of the sugar into the water by gently stirring the mixture. Once it has dissolved pour it into the fermenting bucket and stir well.

Elderflower Champagne Recipe


Add the lemon juice to the bucket using a sieve.

Elderflower Champagne Recipe

Give the muslin bag one final shake and then drop it into the bucket.

Elderflower Champagne Recipe

Next add the white wine vinegar. Stir the contents of the bucket for a minute or two.

Elderflower Champagne Recipe

Add the remaining 12.5 litres of cold water and the yeast nutrient to the bucket.

Stir well again, then sprinkle champagne yeast of top of the mixture and leave it all for 15 minutes.

Stir one last time and cover the bucket with another bit of muslin or a lid.

Elderflower Champagne Recipe

4. Let It Ferment

Put the bucket in a warm place. A utility space or near a radiator will work well.

After one day check on it. The mixture should be fizzing. If it’s not something has gone wrong! Try adding a pint of hot water, then using a sterilized ladle give it a good stir. Check on it in another day.

Leave the mixture for a further six – nine days. The fizzing should slow down and the mixture should start to change colour. It will become clearer.

5. Bottle It Up

If you haven’t already, sterilise the bottles using the sterilising agent.

Next, put a cloth in boiling water for three minutes to sterilize it.

Get one of your bottles and put 10g of granulated sugar in it. Put the cloth in the funnel and then using a clean jug, decant the mixture from the bucket into the funnel to fill the bottle to the top.

Elderflower Champagne Recipe

Repeat until all of the mixture has been bottled.

Store the bottles in a warm place for one month. Prevent any bottle breakages by periodically slowly releasing the bottle lid to let some of the air out. Only do this once or twice otherwise you’ll lose your precious bubbles.

After a month the Elderflower Champange should be clear. Move the bottles to a cold place – the longer the more dry it gets, though it’s worth noting it has a dry (rather than sweet) taste anyway. Chill the bottle(s) 24 hours before serving.

Elderflower Champagne Recipe

6. Drink!

Pour the Elderflower Champagne into glasses and enjoy a very well deserved drink. FYI: You will be left with some harmless sediment at the bottom of the bottle.

It tastes so good that I’m sure you won’t have any to keep, but if you do it should last about eighteen months.

Cheat: If you’re short on time or want to cheat I highly recommend this elderflower liqueur and this equally tasty Chase Distillery Elderflower Liqueur.

Other tasty recipes:

Tuscan Soup

Flatbread

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Elderflower champagne recipe
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Comments (5)

  • Shantal 5 months ago Reply

    Hi Taylor. I happened on your Elderflower champagne recipe and though I have only dappled in making elderflower cordials and syrup, would like to give the champagne recipe a bash. However, can one successfully halve the recipe? Thanks!

    Taylor Hearts Travel 5 months ago Reply

    Hi, Glad you found it and that you fancy making it. :) I’ve never tried halving it, so I’m not sure tbh. Let me know how it goes, if you do – I’d be interested to find out!

  • Oooh, this sounds utterly scrumptious!

    Taylor Hearts Travel 6 years ago Reply

    It’s so tasty and doesn’t cost much to make at all. I stockpiled about ten bottles, which I’m rationing out over the months!

  • […] The drinks on offer weren’t as exciting as the food choices, especially as the super cool red bus bar was limited to VIPs. Even the homemade cider that looked and sounded promising, just didn’t deliver. Next time I’ll have to sell my homebrew Elderflower Champagne… […]

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