Elderflower and mint cordial

This was a bit of an experiment as I wanted to use some of the mint which is growing copiously in the garden. I knew it would either make a deliciously refreshing cordial or something that tasted like toothpaste. Thankfully it turned out to be just right.

Ingredients (makes enough to fill 2 x 75 cl bottles)

  • 15 large elderflower heads
  • 1.5 litres water
  • 350 g caster sugar
  • 100 g brown sugar
  • 25 g citric acid (finally found it in a chemist’s, read the saga of the citric acid here)
  • 5 full stems of mint
  • 1 orange
  • 1 lemon

How to make it

Boil the water (should be about one very full kettle’s worth) and pour it over the sugar and leave to cool. Once it’s cool, stir in the citric acid.

Lightly rinse the elderflower heads to remove any dirt or little insects (but don’t plunge them in water). Peel the orange and lemon with a vegetable peeler and throw the peel in with the elderflower heads. Slice the fruit and add. Pick five tall, young stems of mint and add to the fruity and fragrant mix. Pour the now cool water, sugar and citric acid mixture over the fruity concoction. Cover with cling film and leave to infuse for a day.

Strain the fruit, through muslin or cheesecloth ideally to make it as clear as possible. The cordial should be put into sterilised bottles (I pour boiling water into the bottles, right to the top, pour the water out and leave them to dry in a hot oven for about 20 minutes) and the lids tightly added.

I was really pleasantly surprised by this cordial as it was heady and fragrant, but had a zingy and completely refreshing edge. It was the perfect antidote to a full morning’s gardening:

During which I found these growing merrily! I’m going to eat them before anyone, or anything, else does!

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