I ran into my friend Aryn from Sweet Song Herbals, at the market this week. We got to talking about Elder, whose flowers are in bloom and ready for harvest this week. She told me she had tried Elderflower ‘fizz’ which is an ages old delightful remedy/libation/afternoon sipping beverage — from ‘way back’.
Elderflower Champagne is SO good. You’ll remember the first time you try it, for a very long time.
My first experience? It was in Provence, France in 2003 during a “Plant Lover’s Journey” with my dear friend and mentor, Rosemary Gladstar. What a delightful trip; so full of the wonder of the plants! We were visiting a lovely woman who made her own essential oils from wild plants in the surrounding countryside! The glorious afternoon was only made more perfect by the arrival of Elderflower Champagne and subsequent sipping!
This, of course, is not really a champagne, nor is it alcoholic, but it is a refreshing and deliciously fragrant drink to serve on a summer’s day. Elder bushes grow wild in many places, so if you do not have one in your garden, take care where you pick the flowers. Avoid picking those that have been growing by the roadside, and always lightly wash them before use.
This recipe is an excerpt from my chapter in the IHA “herb of the year” Elder from 2013.*
- 4 litres/1 gal good quality water
- 3/4 cup sugar (pure organic cane sugar, coconut sugar or your favourite)
- zest and juice of 2 organic lemons
- 4 large elderflower heads (or more!)
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar (or rice vinegar)
- Boil the water, then stir in the sugar until it has dissolved, and leave to cool.
- Zest the lemons.
- Extract juice from one lemon.
- Cut the other lemon into slices
- Place the elderflowers in a large, non-metallic container.
- Add the lemon zest, juice and slices, the sweetened water and the vinegar.
- Stir, cover with a cloth, and leave for 24 hours.
- Strain the liquid through a fine sieve, squeezing the flowers to extract all the flavour.
- Pour into clean screw-top bottles
- Store, preferably on their sides, for 10 days, until effervescent.
- Drink within 3-4 weeks.
- I have only made this recipe with freshly picked elderflowers.
*Note: Herb of the Year books from the International Herb Association can be purchased via the IHA website.
I’ve written about Elder ~ her wonderful flower medicine here and Elderberry medicine here. In the fall, many herbalists make their own version of Elderberry syrup, infused with healing powers for cold + flu season. Here’s my recipe.
Where to buy ELDERFLOWERS? I have never tried to make the Champagne recipe with dried flowers, but if you are looking for good quality dried flowers for your medicine chest, try my friends Matt + Andrea at their beloved herb farm,
Healing Spirits Herb Farm
or here through Amazon affiliate and Frontier Herbs:
Frontier Natural Products Elder European Flowers Whole — 16 oz