Hubby (who’s an arborist) took out an elder from someone’s garden and with all those flowers lying on the ground (still attached to the tree) the plan was formed…well when I say plan it was more a case of we stood looking at it and he said ..hey shall we make Elderflower Champagne and I went and got a couple of shopping bags.
It’s a surprisingly simple thing to make…there’s no yeast to be added as there is naturally occurring yeast on the flowers….the only thing you need to bear in mind is when you collect the flowers don’t go mad because to make 28 litres of champagne you don’t really need 2 bags full of flowers.
The reason for this becomes apparent very quickly…
- Firstly you then have to take loads out of the mix because it seems to stop fermentation
- Secondly the flowers are really perfumed and the smell (whilst it’s lovely) is a bit overwhelming in the scheme of things.
So you don’t need many flowers but having had loads in and then removing them it appears a lot of the natural yeast gets left behind….and you need to keep an eye on the bottles (especially if you’re using plastic bottles)…they need to be vented or you will have the bottoms blowing out of the bottles all over your bedroom carpet…Oh yes they did 3 of them!!! (bedroom smelt lovely).
The end result is a flowery little brew that is now in the fridge in the workshop …the cold stops the fermentation and subsequent blowing up. Hubby worked it out at about 5.9%….I quite like it but I’d like to taste a brew that has less flowers in it and see what the difference is.
For 25 litres
- 4kgs Sugar
- 2 carrier bags of elderflower heads
- 10 litres of hot water and 15 litres of cold water
- 10 lemons (zest and juice)
Dissolve the sugar in the hot water in a large enough container to hold all the water (this will be your fermenting bucket). Top up with the cold water.
Once it’s cool add the flower heads, Lemon juice and zest. The cover the bucket with a bit of Muslin cloth or a tea towel and let it get on with doing what it does best.
If things haven’t started to happen by day 3 add some champagne yeast and that will start things off (but if you’re elderflower is anything like ours you won’t need it).
After 6 days strain it into a fresh bucket through some muslin cloth. (Now you may think you won’t bother doing this…think again…we didn’t and it’s an absolute pain because if you don’t strain it some of the sludge goes into the bottles and then you have to strain it when you’re pouring it into the glasses….it is much easier to do it once).
After about a week it’s ready to drink but keep an eye on it because as I said it can be a little lively…you have been warned