Elderflower ‘sham-pagne’

Not being a drinker, I dont have to consume my own home brew – but Kel hasnt put up any objections so far – the bramble wine and elderberry wine have gone down well, and this year I am thinking about expanding my repertoire to include nettle wine too…

But by far the easiest bit of ‘brewing’ I’ve done so far is the elderflower stuff I’ve just been bottling. The whole process of making this drink has probably taken an hour, including the picking and bottling – it really is that easy.

No faffing around with demi-johns and air locks, no leaving it to ferment for month after month, you literally pick the flowers one day, and bottle the stuff the next. How it will taste of course, is anyone’s guess. However, there’s loads of elderflowers around, and if you were to take a couple of flower heads of half a dozen bushes, you will be making very little impact on the amount of berries it will go on to produce.

The recipe I followed is a very basic one:

12 heads of elderflower, picked on a sunny day and full of scent.

1 1/2 lb of Unrefined white sugar.

The juice and zest of 1 lemon.

2 tbs white wine vinegar.

1 gallon of water.

Mix all the above in a bowl or pan, and leave it for 24 hours. I couldnt resist giving it a prod everynow and then with a spoon, to make sure it was all ‘getting involved’.

Then strain it, and bottle it (in screw top bottles preferably – corked bottles may not stand the pressure.

There’s no need for any extra yeast as there’s plenty of wild stuff on the flowers. I would suggest though that you try and pick your flowers from somewhere that hasnt been too popular with cars, I am not too keen on exhaust fumes where I can avoid them.

The drink should be consumed, after a fortnight, but within three weeks – so it’s probably best for a party, or for giving away as a gallon of water equates to about half a dozen wine bottles, or four and half  plastic litre bottles, which is what I used.

Just be aware though that although there can surely be hardly any alcohol in this drink, like all home brew, the strength will be hard to guage. So make sure you drink it in moderation, and that you arent driving after you have supped.

Edit:

I should have pointed out to the unwary that you should also make sure your bottles are sterilised, if they are glass you can do this with boiling water or in the oven, for plastic bottles and caps you can just use Milton fluid for easiness sake.

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