Elderflower Champagne Recipe
Sweet Homemade Fizzy Champagne
Sometimes you’ll have the trickiest time finding an Elder tree and other times they’ll make an appearance just when you need them most – late spring when their clusters of flowers are blooming. Such was the case when I discovered an Elder tree while picnicking near the mountain course while watching the TT races.
I picked about 15 of the creamy flower heads on the way back to the car and have already started making one of the most delicious summer beverages ever – Elderflower Champagne. It’s a sweet, flowery bubbly perfect for summer gatherings.
10-20 Elderflower heads
900g / 4.5 cups Sugar
1 litre / 4.25 cups White Grape Juice
3 Lemons, washed
Sachet of Champagne Yeast (1 tsp) – don’t use bread yeast, it won’t work for this recipe
3.75 litres / 15 cups Boiled water, allowed to cool to room temperature.
1. Using a fork, remove all the elderflowers from the stalks and mix in a bowl with the sugar. Leave them for 2-3 hours and mash the mixture up with the fork as you mix, every 20 minutes or so. What you’re doing here is infusing the sugar with the Elderflower fragrance and flavour.
2. After the 2-3 hours, add the water and stir until the sugar has fully dissolved. Then add the white grape juice, yeast and yeast nutrient.
3. Halve the lemons and squeeze the juice into the bowl – then toss the lemon halves in as well. 4. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and leave for 5 days, stirring occasionally. It starts fermenting at this time and if you add it to the demi-john too early it can create a mess!
5. After the 5 days, siphon into a sterilised demi-john (carboy) and fit an airlock to it. Leave the mixture to ferment for about 1-2 weeks or until the bubbles in the airlock slow down to a standstill. You should keep the champagne in a room with the temperature recommended on the yeast packet.
6. Siphon into sterilised plastic drinks bottles after 1010 is reached and leave for a few weeks to ferment further. This further fermentation is what will give it it’s fizz! This is also why you should use plastic drinks bottles because glass bottles, though lovely to look at, can explode if you’re not careful.
7. Serve the Elderflower Champagne chilled and enjoy the taste of summer!