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Hurrah for early summer! The birds are singing, the hedgerows are green and there’s Elderflowers everywhere you turn here in Dorset. There’s few things more refreshing on a hot day than a long, ice-cold glass of Elderflower cordial so we’ve shared our easiest Elderflower cordial recipe below so you can get in on the action:

You’ll need some time, some large mixing bowls or a spotlessly clean plastic bucket, sugar, lemons, water and a little bit of the magic ingredient, citric acid. Our top tip is to buy citric acid early. It stores for years and you can guarantee your local chemist will be sold out during early summer as everybody buys it at once!

Full ingredients for 4 litres of cordial are below:


  • 2 1/2kg white sugar
  • 2 lemons (unwaxed)
  • 20 fresh Elderflower heads, stalks trimmed
  • 85g citric acid

It’s really important to make sure your Elderflower heads are as fresh as possible. Don’t let them hang around and try and pick them in the morning when the heat of the day hasn’t had a chance to dry them out. Also avoid picking from the side of a road (although ironically this is often where they grow best)



1. Put the sugar and citric acid in to a large mixing bowl or clean bucket and pour over 1.5 litres of recently boiled water. Stir until fully dissolved and allow to cool slightly.

2. Slice the zest of your lemons off in large, broad strips and then chop the rest of the lemon in to slices. Add to the bowl with the sugary mixture.

3. Shake your Elderflower heads over the sink to remove bugs and excess pollen. Don’t rinse them though as you’ll be washing away the flavour!

4. Add the flower heads to the mixture, stir gently and then cover with a clean tea towel and place in a cool place for 24 hours.

5. Once steeped, strain the mixture through muslin to remove the flowers and lemons as well as any petals that may be drifting around. We advise to double-layer your muslin to make sure you catch everything.

6. Decant your cordial in to sterilised bottles. Glass bottles look really pretty but plastic bottles are more practical if you’re planning on freezing any of your batch.

Your cordial should keep in the fridge for up to 6 weeks but it will last much longer if frozen.


Fancy a more grown-up version? We can’t wait to try this Elderflower Liqueur recipe. Are you making cordial this year? Got any top tips or tricks we’ve missed? Let us know on social or in the comments below!


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About the author

Alix Haysom

I've been at Virginia Hayward since 2009, returning to the countryside after 10 years in London gaining experience in PR and advertising. I love the variety of my role, from being involved with the next marketing campaign and theming for the Christmas brochure to product selection (and tasting of course). Outside of work I enjoy making the most of Dorset’s fresh air with my young family and border terrier.

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