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Friday, 22 May 2009

Elderflower Champagne

This is one of my favourite ways of using Elderflowers. This drink was first served to me at my Grandmother's home - she was very prolific with the wine making and we always had home made wine of some sort on the table with Sunday lunch. My tastes were formed early but no matter what we always ate and drank well and I think my squirreling instincts come from my Nan who was always able to provide a very good meal with next to nothing.

Please use strong beer, champagne or the old fashioned fizzy drinks bottles with the old fashioned rubber stoppers (or cider bottles).

Ingredients

2 large handfuls of freshly gathered elderflower heads
1 1/2lb white sugar
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 large lemon
8 pints cold water

Strip the elderflower florets from their stalks and place in a large earthenware or china bowl (I use my Masons Cash Mixing Bowl) with the sugar and the wine vinegar. Pare the skin from a lemon very thinly and squeeze juice then add both the rind and the juice to the bowl. Pour on the water and cover with a clean cloth and leave to steep for 24 hours. Strain through scalded muslin then pour into sterilised bottles. Seal and stand for 2 to 3 weeks when it will be ready to drink.

Makes approximately 8 pints.

Store in a cool place.

Having a family wedding later in the year why not make "Champagne" now most people love the light muscat taste of this drink. Or why not make some and take to that open air event where you take a picnic with you.

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