How to Make Elderflower Cordial

Kristen Wood
by Kristen Wood
4 people
10 min

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A sweet, tart and floral Elderflower Cordial recipe bursting with fresh flavor. This cordial recipe is super easy to make and versatile in its uses.

a glass sun bottle with a sun design is filled with elderflower cordial and lit by the sun for a glowing effect

Looking for a way to make best use of elderflower season? Look no further! This elderflower cordial (aka elderflower syrup) has the taste of summer in a bottle.

What is a Cordial?

If you go on a search to learn more about cordials, you're likely to find yourself a bit confused about just what they are exactly. Some sources will consider them a syrup or liqueur, others—a water, soft drink or alcoholic beverage. So what is a cordial exactly? Traditionally, a cordial itself is a non-alcoholic syrup of sorts that is used to flavor both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages alike. It is concentrated in flavor and versatile in its uses.

A fresh elderflower head
Where to Find Fresh Elderflowers

Here is an excellent article from my friend Colleen over on Grow Forage Cook Ferment all about identifying and foraging for elderflower.

Otherwise, sometimes you can find fresh elderflower flower heads being sold at farmers markets and also online. One my favorite places to order fresh edible flowers from online is Gourmet Sweet Botanicals.

Be certain to check elderflower heads for bugs before using!

lemon slices and elderflowers float atop a cordial in the making
How-to Make
Step 1: Combine ingredients in a large saucepan.
Step 2: Cover and let sit.
Step 3: Strain using a mesh strainer or muslin cheesecloth.
Step 4: Store in glass bottles or jars.
Step 5: Enjoy!
How to Use Elderflower Cordial

You can use elderflower cordial just as you would a flavored syrup. You can mix with sparkling water for a refreshing beverage, or liquor for a fancy cocktail and serve over ice, you can drizzle it over pancakes or ice cream, bake with it in your favorite cake and muffin recipes, you can make a salad vinaigrette by mixing it with olive oil or you can mix it with water or milk and then freeze in popsicles molds for a refreshing treat or make a sorbet. The possibilities are endless!

a glass sun bottle of elderflower cordial seems to glow from within leaving a magical site of yellow golden liquid

You can pour the strained, cooled cordial into any lidded vessel of your choice and then keep it stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 months (and possible longer). It is highly acidic, so it stores well. So long as the cordial doesn't have any off putting smells, it is likely just fine!

fresh elderflower heads surround a glass sun bottle filled with golden syrup elder flower cordial recipe
Ingredient Substitutions

Honey: If you are vegan or prefer a different sweetener, you can certainly use something different. Agave syrup, maple syrup, coconut sugar, cane all works in this recipe.

Citric Acid: Use 3 tablespoons of vinegar of choice in place of the two tablespoons of citric acid, if need be.

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a bottle of elderflower cordial glowing bright yellow from the light of the sun
How to Make Elderflower Cordial
Recipe details
  • 4  people
  • Prep time: 10 Minutes Cook time: 0 Minutes Total time: 10 min
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  • ▢ 1/2 cup honey we like to use raw, unfiltered
  • ▢ 2 cups boiling water heat on stovetop or water kettle, etc.
  • ▢ 1 fresh lemon sliced
  • ▢ 2 tablespoons citric acid
  • ▢ 10 medium fresh elderflowers heads make sure the stems aren't attached as they are toxic!

▢ In a large pot or mixing bowl add the honey and boiling water. Stir until the honey dissolves.
▢ Add lemon slices, citric acid and elderflower heads. Give a good stir and then cover.
▢ Let it sit for at least 4 hours (or up to 2 days).
▢ Strain the cordial and let it cool to room temperature before storing in the fridge for up to two months.
Kristen Wood
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