Elderflower Cordial

The scent of elderflowers is floral, aromatic, enticing and unforgettable. Distinctively British, elderflower cordial is like summer in a glass. As you take each sip, the somewhat-tangy, lightly-botanical, sweetly-floral flavours transport you to a picturesque English country garden, with bluebells and roses, lavender and sunshine.

We first tasted this at a café in a little side street near Kew Gardens and have refined the recipe a few times to capture just the right flavour we remember so fondly.

This cordial is refreshing all year round, served with generous helpings of ice and splashes of still or sparkling mineral water.

Elderflower Cordial

  • Servings: 2 x 500ml bottles
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 25 to 30 large heads of elderflowers, shaken and cleaned
  • 1kg granulated sugar
  • 750ml of almost simmering water (not boiling)
  • 25g citric acid
  • 2 lemons, thickly sliced


  1. Cut off just the slim elderflower stems that hold the blossoms (no thick stems)
  2. Add the blossoms to a large bowl, together with the lemon slices, citric acid and sugar
  3. Pour over the heated water and stir gently but well until the sugar dissolves
  4. Leave covered to steep overnight
  5. The sugar should be completely dissolved and the mixture syrupy, with the flavour of the elderflowers infused into the syrup
  6. Strain the contents of the bowl into a clean bowl through a fine muslin cloth
  7. Decant and store in sterilised bottles in a dark cupboard or the fridge
  8. Once open, store in the fridge
  9. Dilute to your taste with water or sparkling water, (normally 1 part cordial to 4 parts water) – it’s ready to drink and will keep for several months
  10. Smell the blossoms before gathering – you want sweet-smelling ones!

    Pick the flowers early in the morning, when their scent is stronger.

    Don’t use older blossoms as they’ll spoil the taste.
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