With my abundance of elder in flower in June, I always devote some harvest for this delicious summer drink. Like lemonade, fizzy, with elderflower taste obviously. Once friends taste it, they want gallons the next year. Pick your elderflowers at peak when they bloom out and smell so fragrant. Remember not to cut all the flowers as the berries will grow once the flowers fade.
2 gallons water
5 cups sugar (I think I do 4)
8 large elderflower heads (I cut the flower umbrel as it is called from the main rigid stem; the smaller little stems the flowers are on is ok and will not ruin the taste)
4 tablespoons mild white wine vinegar
Mix in a nonmetal bowl….glass is nice or plastic ; the mixture reacts negatively with metal.
Boil the water and pour on the sugar to dissolve it. Stir to blend sugar in.
Allow the sugar water to Cool and then add the elderflowers, juice of the two lemons, slices of the other two and the vinegar.
Cover with a cloth and leave it for a day or overnight.
Strain out the lemons and then liquid with a fine sieve or muslin cloth, squeezing the flowers as you do to release more flavor.
Store in screw top bottles.
Elderflower has natural yeast. I leave my canning quarts of elderflower on the counter a day or two to naturally ferment and then place them in the refrigerator. It won’t start fermenting until under pressure in the bottle. You won’t see or hear it fizz in the bowl; it won’t bubble; do not add yeast! If you taste it after it sits before you bottle it, it will taste like a flat sweet elderflower drink. Bottle it up, (screw top brew bottles or I use canning jars). when you do open it, slightly open and you’ll hear the “psst”..do it over the sink or outside. By this time, the natural yeasts from the flowers will have worked in conjunction with the other ingredients, and you will get a lovely, fizzy summer drink.
It will be ready in about 10-14 days .I have read that it stores for a month, but I actually had some I made at Midsummer and kept in the refrigerator in glass bottles (Frap size or iced tea) and drank the last of it in the late fall.