Recipe: Elderflower Cordial

The elderflowers are starting to appear round my way, so I thought it was the ideal time to share this simple recipe for elderflower cordial. This cordial is so easy and quick to make, and tastes easily as good or better than any cordial you can buy.

In Chinese medicine elderflowers have a cooling energy, and help to drain Dampness and clear Phlegm. They have an affinity with the Lung, so can be used when there is a cough with sticky yellow phlegm. They also help to ‘release the exterior’, which means that they can fight off colds in the early stages.


1.3kg sugar
1.8ltrs boiling water
25-30 fresh heads of elderflowers
50g citric acid
2 oranges, sliced
2 lemons, sliced

Note: Citric acid is available from chemists, home-brew shops or online.


Put the sugar in a large bowl or pan, and pour on boiling water, stir to dissolve sugar. Leave to stand for 30 mins. Sort the elderflower heads, pulling the flowers from the stalks (but no need to be too fussy, small bits of stalk won’t cause any problems). Add the flowers to the sugar syrup with the rest of the ingredients, mix well, cover and leave overnight.

Sterilize some bottles using a commercial sterilizing solution or by putting them through a dishwasher cycle (if safe to do so) – at the same time sterilize any other equipment you will use (funnels, bottle tops, jugs, spoons etc) in the same way, or by rinsing with boiling water.

Strain the elderflower liquid through a sieve lined with muslin or a clean teatowel, and into the bottles.

Storage & Use:

The cordial will keep in the fridge for a few weeks. For longer term storage, fill plastic drinks bottles 3/4 full and freeze. It will keep in the freezer for many months. To use, dilute with water to make a very refreshing summer drink!