Since I also wanted to serve something floral to drink alongside my candied rose petals , I decided to make a jug of elderflower fizz for my food demo last Sunday. On a particularly balmy evening – I agree, it’s hard to believe that was only last week – Pim and I jumped on our bikes in search of these sweet white flowers. Let me just fast-forward a little to the point when the sun was starting to go down and we still hadn’t found any. We were almost certain our foraging expedition had been in vain when the heady scent of honey stopped us in our tracks. Not elderflower, but the pale yellow blossoms of the linden tree. As soon as my eyes were opened to this new possibility, these fragrant trees suddenly seemed to be absolutely everywhere. Whole streets were lined with them, my own street included! Finding one with low-hanging branches and cutting bits off a tree without feeling socially awkward, well, that’s another story. However, once picked, it couldn’t be easier to turn these little flowers into a cordial and mixed with some sparkling mineral water it becomes a delightfully refreshing drink that smells and tastes like summer.
Ingredients for 500 ml cordial, enough for 2 liters of sparkling mineral water:
half a plastic bag full of lindenflowers/limeflowers (that’s the same thing, confusing, I know) (about 150 g) (just the flowers, not the green leaves!)
500 ml boiling water
250 g sugar
juice of 1 lemon
- Shake the flowers and make sure there aren’t any creepy crawlies hiding in there.
- Put them in a pan or large ceramic bowl and cover them with boiling water.
- Cover with a lid and leave to infuse for a night, or, even better, a night and a day. Once it’s cooled down a little, you can put the pan/bowl in the fridge.
- Strain the liquid through a sieve lined with kitchen paper, or through a muslin cloth. If you happen to have a muslin cloth.
- Bring it to the boil with the sugar and stir till all the sugar has been dissolved. Add the juice of 1 lemon and let it boil for 5 minutes. Taste and add more lemon juice if you want. Be careful, though, it should still taste like flowers, not like regular lemonade!
- Pour the hot syrup in a very clean kilner jar or glass flip-top bottle and close the clasps.
- When it’s cooled down a little, put the jar in the fridge. This syrup is 50 percent sugar, so it’s much too sweet on its own. I used a 1:5 ratio of cordial and sparkling water, which I thought was absolutely perfect.