There is perhaps no alcoholic drink more sophisticated or classy than wine. It dates back centuries and is one of those drinks that sets a mood quite like no other. Whether celebrating a special occasion like an anniversary or adding to a collection, a bottle of wine can make moments more memorable.
Not only is elderflower wine a quality liquid, but you can also use it while cooking many things like cakes, tarts, and jams. In this post, we will share our secret on how to make this unique cordial.
Before you begin with your recipe, it’s important to have the right ingredients on hand. After a quick trip to the grocery store, you will be ready to brew.
Here are the ingredients and equipment needed to make a wine you’ll love.
· Elderflower flower heads (about 25 flowers)
· 200g sultanas (chopped)
· Lemon rind (zested and juiced)
· 1kg sugar
· 5g citric acid
· 75ml black tea (cold)
· 5g wine yeast (sachet)
· Campden tablets
· 1tsp yeast nutrient
· Boiling water
· Fermentation bucket (at least 3)
· Equipment to stir
· Strain (fine sieve)
· Straining bag
· Air-lock lid
Elderflowers are among the easiest flowers to pick because you can smell elderflower bushes from far away. The stronger the scent, the better quality they are.
When you visit a hedgerow, make sure you bring a carrier bag, ensuring that you have enough to carry home to make your wine. Elderflowers grow on a tree, featuring a noticeable white flower head.
These heads should direct upwards and compare to your hand size. If you are unsure where to find these flowers, ask the garden attendant.
There are many different methods of removing these flowers from their stalks. Most people use a fork to pry the flowers from the stems. However, you may also use scissors or a pinching method.
At the hedgerow, you should take a walking stick with you. A walking stick will help you grab elderflowers in hard-to-reach areas.
Before you use elderflowers in your wine recipe, be sure to shake them off to remove any bugs or sediment from the flowers. Store the flowers in an open container to keep them cool. The flowers will turn brown and spoil when sealing them for more than a few hours.
The best time to start picking these flowers is in the month of June. There is a few-week window in the summer months of June or July in which you can pluck elderflowers before they turn brown.
It is fun and rewarding to make your own wine at home. That is why we are happy to share this elderflower wine-making process with our readers.
The first step on your journey toward making a perfect bottle of elderflower wine is preparing your brewing equipment. You do not want anything that can contaminate the wine-making process.
Wine making is a precise art form. If you make one error, it can ruin an entire bucket of wine. Preparing your brewing equipment involves two steps: cleaning and sanitising.
Cleaning refers to removing any dirt or oil stains from your brewing equipment. The kitchen equipment you use to brew your wine must be spotless and contamination-free.
When you clean your kitchen supplies, you must avoid scratching or denting your bottles or jars. Tiny scratches can be the perfect hiding spots for microbes.
After thoroughly cleaning your brewing equipment, you will need to sanitise it. The sanitisation process refers to eliminating microbial beings. In other words, you are removing the contaminants that are invisible to the naked eye.
You can purchase many sanitisers online or in stores to help cleanse all your equipment. Sanitisers work wonders if your brewing tools are clean before using sanitisation products.
When you are cleaning or sanitising your products, make sure that you follow the instructions for each chemical. It may be wise to use rubber gloves when handling cleaning liquids.
Before moving on to step two, cut the florets from the stems of the elderflower using a pair of scissors or a wide-toothed comb. Then, place these florets in a clean bucket.
Once your equipment is clean, the next step is to add lemon juice, zest, sultanas, and grated rind to your brewing bucket and stir in preparation for the sugar. You can dissolve the citric acid and sugar by boiling them in 2l of water. The sugar will give your wine a smooth undercurrent.
Once you dissolve the sugar and acid, pour boiling water into your bucket, stirring occasionally. Then, cover the bucket and let it ferment for at least eight hours. Many winemakers perform this step before bed and continue the next day.
The third step in the elderflower brewing process is adding tea to your mixture. You will also add approximately 2.5l of cold water to your bucket and stir.
After stirring, you want to sprinkle the wine yeast nutrient over the mixture. Once again, put the lid back onto your bucket and let it sit in a dark place as the yeast settles. Your goal is to let it ferment until the yeast dissolves.
Typically, this process takes five days. However, it may last for a few weeks, depending on how long it takes the yeast to do its job. You should keep checking in on the fermentation until the bubbles are gone.
The next step of the elderflower wine brewing process is to strain the mixture into a fresh fermentation bucket or sterilised Demi John, leaving the sediment behind. Then, pour 4.5l of cooled boiled water into the bucket if you wish.
Next, put an air-locked lid on your liquid bucket and leave it to ferment. The fermentation process should last six weeks. Look for carbon dioxide bubble trails to indicate that the wine is fermenting properly.
Once the bubbles settle, you want to transfer your wine to another fermenting bucket, leaving the sediment behind. Then, you can add the Campden tablet.
All that is left to do is wait for your mixture to clear. This step is the longest of the bunch, taking up to four months. However, it will all be worth it when you can taste your summer alcohol beverage.
Make sure you do not store your wine in a warm place. Continue letting it settle in a cool, dark area of your home until it is ready to drink. Once the liquid clears, dispense it into sterilised bottles for consumption.
Typically, your wine will improve for up to 18 months after it achieves fermentation. Experts claim the best time to drink your wine is after six months of fermenting.
A bottle of elderflower wine should have the faint taste of a pear. The more subtle the wine’s taste, the better the bottle (one reason why you should refrain from adding too much sugar). You may also try making an elderflower champagne with a modified recipe.
Never eat elderflowers raw. The only edible parts of an elderflower are the flower and berries. A pure elderflower is toxic and can harm your body.
An elderflower cordial has a reputation for preserving the flavour of a fruit, making it exceptional to use for many cooking recipes. These flowers also have many health benefits, including antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Many herbalists use elderflowers to cure a common cold, flu symptoms, respiratory infections, and many more. Still, you should consult a doctor before trying any of these natural remedies.
Perhaps the most famous beverage that uses elderflowers is a St. Germain. This liqueur contains the flowers from an elderberry plant, creating a sweet, floral flavour profile.
There are many cocktails you can make with a bottle of St. Germain, such as a French Gimlet, Hugo, and St. Germain Spritz. These are mid-priced beverages that will not stretch your wallet. These drinks pair well with fruits such as rhubarb and gooseberries.
If you intend to use these flowers for cooking purposes, you can purchase dried elderflowers from many online and in-store retailers.
Wine from the elder tree is a delightful addition to your wine closet and is practical for any occasion. With a little patience and skill, you can make a finished wine that will satisfy your guests for years to come.
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If you’d like to try or gift other types of wine, feel free to purchase one of the many wine hampers on our website. If you have any questions about our wine, beer, or any other alcohol product, you can call Virginia Hayward at 01747 851 515.
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