Use half if you do not have pans this big! This recipe makes about 5 litres of cordial.

  • 40 – 60 large, freshly opened Elderflower heads  – you can use more if you have them
  • 3 kilos Granulated Sugar – alternatively, you can use a mix of sugars (white, Demerara, light brown)
  • 4 litres cold Water
  • 6 – 8 lemons, depending on size
  • 100g Citric Acid – Optional – I’ve always used it, but if you freeze the cordial and use the defrosted bottles up quickly, you could manage without it, as it acts as a preservative by preventing fermentation.


  1. Zest and slice lemons, and put into large pan with elderflower heads.
  2. In another large pan heat up sugar and water – stirring until dissolved.
  3. When syrup is almost boiling remove from heat and pour over lemons and elderflowers.
  4. Stir in citric acid.
  5. When liquid has cooled cover pan with a clean tea towel and leave for 24 – 48 hours.
  6. Strain liquid through muslin.
  7. At this point I fill up lots of small, clean plastic bottles/ containers and put most of them in the freezer, as I like to defrost the cordial as we need it during the year. Also you don’t need to sterilize the bottles if they are going to be frozen and used up quickly after defrosting.
  8. Always store your cordial in the fridge.
  9. Dilute with fizzy water or add to gin!