How to Make Elderflower Cordial

Recipe – Summer is on its way. Elderflowers are in bloom. The large white, fragrant heads appear in mid-May and last about two weeks. If you are looking for a great flavor to build a around this is it.

This recipe is for a delicious cordial or . The uses the natural yeasts on the flowers to carbonate the soda. The result is a light and delicious non-alcoholic kind of elderflower champagne.

What Does Elderflower Taste Like?

Elderflower is a staple of the English countryside. Many a young Brit will fondly recall their mom’s elderflower cordial. In Sweden they take full advantage of elderflowers, making elderflower fritters and delicious juices. France gives us the incomparable pale yellow liqueur St Germain. If you’ve spent any time mixing cocktails in the past decade you’ll know how much people love this unique flavor. Especially this time of year.

Elder blooms and berries bookend

How to make elderflower cordial.
How to Make Elderflower Cordial

summer. Elderflower blooms at the start of summer. The elderberry signals the fading of the season. The flavor of the two are a season apart. The berries are dark and rich and funky. The flowers are light, delicate and fresh. They taste like honey, flowers and the ghost of a pear.


Where to get elderflowers?

Foraging for Elderflowers

Elderflower recipes go back for millennia. The blooms were a favorite of ancients druids. There is something magical about the elder in bloom. The bright white blooms with their heady aroma can make most cynics a little romantic.

The druids also seem to have handed down the instructions for picking elderflowers. People insist on picking the blooms early in the morning and never after it has rained. Blooms picked in the afternoon taste fine, but damp blooms won’t have the flavor you’re looking for.

Buying Dried Elderflowers

You might not be able to wait for Spring, or you don’t have access to fresh elderflowers. You can buy dried elderflower blooms. Be aware that the dried blooms are still very flavorful, but they develop some funky flavors. They have a dry hay flavor which many people unpleasant. If you decide to use dry elderflowers you may want to adjust for this flavor.

How to Make Elderflower Cordial

This recipe is for a sparkling elderflower soda. This soda is simple and easy to make. If you have wanted to try making sodas carbonated with natural yeast this is a great place to start.

The natural yeasts on the flowers will carbonate the soda. The process takes about 48 hours to carbonate. You will want to carbonate your soda in plastic bottles. Glass bottles can build up too much pressure and explode.

Once you have finished your soda and the yeast is no longer active you can transfer it to glass containers.

Elderflower Blog Post


  • 3 large elderflower heads
  • Juice and fine grated zest of one lemon
  • 3 cups of granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp of white wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 gallons of cold water


  1. Pick the elderflower heads when the flowers are in full bloom. Shake them well to remove any dirt and insects.
  2. Put them in a large bowl and add the lemon juice, zest, vinegar, sugar and water. Let everything stand for 24 hours.
  3. Strain out the solid ingredients and funnel into sanitized plastic bottles. Seal and leave the bottles at room temperature. Keep an eye on the pressure in the plastic bottles. When the bottles feel hard to the touch you know that they are building up pressure and carbonation. To avoid overpressurizing your bottle open the top a quarter turn and release a little gas every day or so.
  4. After two weeks your elderflower presse should be ready to drink. Chill your bottles to near freezing to arrest carbonation.

Recipe Notes

If you make this in late spring or early summer when the elders are in bloom it will keep in a cool place for about a year or so. Once opened you will want to drink it within a day or two before it loses its fizz.



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