I have long been a fan of homemade elderflower cordial and champagne but had never thought of trying to make liqueur before. Rather strange since we have been making all sorts of other fabulous vodka and gin based drinks over the past few years: damson gin, blackcurrant vodka (well, we actually made a comprehensive selection of gin, brandy and vodka based blackcurrant drinks but the vodka was by far the best and it is now much preferred by our household to the normal French Crème de Cassis) as well as quince vodka.
Luckily a friend, Sara, mentioned she was making elderflower vodka and that made me realise the huge oversight!
A quick trawl of the internet threw up a few variations on the theme but here’s the recipe we’ve gone with:
- 10 heads of elderflower, gently shaken to remove bugs and with as much of the stalk snipped off as possible
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 litre of vodka
Put the elderflower heads into a jar, add the lemon zest and pour over the vodka. Cover or lid the jar and place it somewhere cool and dark for 2 weeks. The narrower the neck of the jar the less the flowers will turn brown, but you do need to be able to get them out afterwards! We scaled the recipe up to fit a small demi-john.
When the two weeks is up, strain the mixture first through a sieve and then through muslin or a tea towel and pour it into a clean bottle. Add between 50 and 100 g of white sugar (you will probably need to experiment to obtain the right level of sweetness for your taste) and put the lid on the bottle. Store it in a dark, cool place for a couple of months at least, shaking gently from time to time to enable the sugar to dissolve.
By early autumn you should have delicious elderflower vodka ready to drink. The vodka will keep for years although it will darken over time to an amber colour.