The Elder tree is in flower in June, and the flower heads of the tree can be used to make a refreshing champagne-like drink. Best of all it's really easy to do...
Here’s what you need:
Here's how you do it:
1) Pour the water into a pan over a gentle heat and dissolve the sugar into it.
2) Transfer about half of the sugar and water solution into the container you're going to use to ferment the champagne. We used a 5 litre fermentation bucket (which you can get online for just a few pounds), but a large mixing bowl will do fine.
3) Add four elder flower heads.
4) Cut the lemon into four and squeeze the juice into the sugar solution, then add the lemon quarters.
5) Add the white wine vinegar and the rest of the water and give it all a stir.
6) Cover the mixture and leave it to 'brew'.
7) After four days strain the mixture (through a fine sieve or muslin) and decant it into sterilised bottles.
The bottles need to be glass with screw tops. The natural yeast of the flowers will make the mixture fizzy, and pressurise the bottles. If you use plastic bottles they can explode (as I discovered the first time I made it).
The champagne looks like cloudy lemonade at first, but over time it gets clearer. Leave the bottles for eight to ten days, then test to see if it has become fizzy. If it hasn’t leave it for another week. I'm told it can keep for up to a year, but it's always consumed so quickly that I've never made enough to last more than a month.
Serve it chilled with ice and a slice of lemon. It is mildly alcoholic - probably about the same as a cheap supermarket lager. Yay!