Elderflower Cordial

Elderflowers
Picked elderflowers

Elderflower Cordial

Although there are a number of brands of ready-made Elderflower Cordial available now, it is is really easy to make your own.    I think home-made Elderflower Cordial is best as it has a zesty lemony taste which ready-made versions don’t seem to have.  Also, it is cheaper as the main ingredient is free!

Elderflowers are a good starting point for new “foragers” as they are so widely available and easily recognisable.   They are the blossoms of the elder (Sambucus nigra) which is a small tree or shrub commonly found in woodlands and gardens throughout the UK.   The small creamy-white flowers are arranged in big clusters and bloom in late May or early June.   In autumn, they turn into purple elderberries which also have a range of culinary uses.

Elderflowers
Elder bush
Elderflowers
Elderflowers
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Elderflower cordial

Elderflower Cordial

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Total Time: 15
  • Yield: 1.5 litres 1x
  • Category: Cordial
  • Cuisine: English

Description

This luscious home-made elderflower cordial is so easy to make and can be used in soft drinks, as a cooking ingredient or to bring a floral note to cocktails.


Scale

Ingredients

  • About 20 elderflower heads
  • 3 unwaxed lemons
  • 1 kg sugar

Instructions

  1. Wash the elderflower heads to remove any insects.
  2. Then place them in a large bowl together with the grated zest of the lemons.   (Reserve the lemons as you will need to use their juice later.)
  3. Pour 1.5 litres of boiling water over the elderflowers and lemon zest.   Cover and leave to infuse overnight.
  4. The next day, strain the liquid through a sieve lined with muslin or kitchen paper, into a large saucepan.
  5. Add the sugar and the juice of the lemons to the infused liquid and heat gently to dissolve the sugar.   Once the sugar is dissolved, simmer more rapidly for around 5  minutes until the liquid has thickened slightly.
  6. Transfer the cordial into sterilised bottles or jars. (There are various ways of sterilising bottles and jars.  I think the easiest is to wash in soapy water and then put in an oven at 120 C for 15 minutes).
  7. Once bottled, the cordial will keep for several weeks in the fridge.

Notes

Although the preparation time is only 15 minutes, you do need to leave the mixture to infuse overnight (see step 3).

Keywords: elderflower cordial

Elderflower cordial
Picked elderflowers
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Rhubarb Cordial

Rhubarb ready to be made into rhubarb cordial
Freshly-cut rhubarb and jars

This is a companion to the recipe for Rhubarb Gin and offers an alternative for those who do not like gin or who do not drink alcohol.  Children love it too although sometimes more when they are not told that it has rhubarb  in it!   There are many recipes for Rhubarb Cordial but this is the very simplest and requires minimal skill or time to make although you do need to leave it overnight before you can enjoy it.  It is very versatile and can be used to make non-alcoholic drinks or used as a flavouring in alcoholic cocktails.   It can also be used as a flavouring in cooking when making cakes and puddings.  As with the Rhubarb Gin, you can add additional flavours to your taste – some are suggested in the recipe but feel free to improvise!

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Rhubarb jam

Rhubarb Cordial

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 1 litre 1x
  • Category: Cordial
  • Cuisine: English

Description

Sweet and zesty Rhubarb Cordial is an easy way of capturing the flavour of rhubarb for use in drinks and food recipes.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 kg rhubarb stalks
  • 600 g caster sugar
  • 1 litre of water
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Ingredients (variations)

  • If you wish to try different flavours you could add one of the following additions: 1 vanilla pod  or other spices (cardamon and star anise go well with rhubarb) or 5 slices of fresh root ginger

Instructions

  1. Wash the rhubarb stalks thoroughly.  Cut into 3 cm pieces.
  2. Put the rhubarb pieces, sugar, water and lemon juice in a saucepan and bring to the boil.   Then allow to simmer for 10 minutes until the rhubarb is very soft.
  3. Take the saucepan off the heat and allow the mixture to cool.
  4. Strain the mushy juices through a muslin-lined funnel into a bowl or jug.  It takes a while for the juice to filter through and the process can be done overnight in your fridge.
  5. The juice that has filtered through the funnel is your Rhubarb Cordial and is ready to use.
  6. The Rhubarb Cordial will keep in a sterilised bottle in your fridge for around a month.  Alternatively, you can freeze it – best to do this in ice-cube trays – and it will keep for up to six months.

Notes

To sterilise your bottle, you can wash in warm soapy water, rinse thoroughly and then dry off for around 15 minutes in an oven set to 140C/120C fan/gas 1.

Rhubarb Cordial is very versatile and can be combined with soda or tonic to make a non-alcoholic drink or added to a glass of prosecco or added to gin or vodka as a flavouring for cocktails.  It can also be poured over vanilla ice-cream to make a quick pudding and used as a culinary ingredient to add flavour.

Keywords: rhubarb cordial

 

Rhubarb - pink and green and fresh
Rhubarb stems – beautiful!

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Rhubarb Gin

Zesty orange and ginger - beautiful ingredients
Ginger and Orange – ready to add flavour to Rhubarb Gin

Rhubarb Gin

Traditionally used to make rhubarb crumbles or rhubarb fools, its sweet and sour taste makes a wonderful flavouring for gin.   Love it or hate it, rhubarb is now in season.  Cheap to buy in the shops and probably over-abundant if you have a rhubarb crown in your in your garden.

In the past few years, there has been an increase in the popularity of flavoured gins, including rhubarb, produced by niche producers and selling for a premium in supermarkets.  I think home-made and traditional is best in terms of both flavour and price, so why not try making your own?   It is  simple to make and, if you do it yourself, and you can play with flavour combinations to produce fantastic variations such as rhubarb and vanilla gin, rhubarb and ginger gin or rhubarb and orange gin.    You may think about other combinations – it is all about producing something that suits your taste!

(If you don’t drink alcohol – or are looking for a drink to suit teetotallers or children – check out my recipe for Rhubarb Cordial)

Rhubarb Gin

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Bottles of rhubarb gin

Rhubarb Gin

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Total Time: 20
  • Yield: 800 ml 1x
  • Category: Gin
  • Cuisine: English

Description

Adding the flavour of fresh rhubarb to gin creates a fantastic drink that is good either on its own or as a base for cocktails.


Scale

Ingredients

Ingredients (basic recipe):

  • 1 kg rhubarb stalks
  • 400 g caster sugar
  • 800 ml good quality gin

Ingredients (variations)

  • If you wish to try different flavours you could add one of the following additions: 1 vanilla pod or 5 slices of fresh root ginger or 5 pieces of thin orange peel

Instructions

  1. Wash the rhubarb stalks thoroughly.  Cut into 3 cm pieces.
  2.  Mix the rhubarb pieces thoroughly with the sugar in a large bowl.
  3.  Spoon the rhubarb and sugar into a sterilised jar.  Leave for 24 hours to allow the rhubarb to macerate in the sugar and   release its juices.
  4.  At this stage, you can add additional flavour ingredients if you wish.   Simply add a vanilla pod, fresh root ginger slices or   thin orange peel (taken from an orange using a potato peeler avoiding the pith) to the jar.
  5.  Add the gin to the jar of rhubarb and sugar.  Shake thoroughly to ensure it is mixed.
  6.  Leave in a cool, dry, dark place for four weeks.
  7.  At the end of that time, the gin is ready to drink!    You can strain the gin into sterilised bottles through a muslin cloth held in a funnel and it will keep for approximately six months.  Alternatively, you can leave the rhubarb pieces in the gin but, if you do this, you must drink it quickly as it will turn bitter after a couple of months.

Notes

Although it only takes 20 minutes preparation time, you will need to allow 24 hours for the rhubarb to macerate  in the sugar and, once you have added the gin, it will take a further four weeks to allow the flavour to develop.

Rhubarb Gin can be drunk on its own, combined with soda or tonic or used as a based for Rhubarb Gin Cocktails.   It is also good poured over vanilla ice-cream to make a quick pudding.

Keywords: rhubarb gin

Rhubarb in jars with sugar and gin - just have to wait four weeks to taste
Jars of Rhubarb, Sugar and Gin
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