Elderflower Cordial

I first tasted this elderflower cordial in Ballymaloe two summers ago and I couldn't wait to try the recipe once the elderflower was back in season. The first time I made it, I was quite disappointed with how it turned out, as it somehow didn't taste the same as Darina's had. I'm not sure why, but perhaps I didn't cut off enough of the green stalks. I'm not exactly sure. However, I found this recipe below in Darina Allen's new book Forgotten Skills, which makes more of a syrup, due to the high proportion of sugar in the recipe, but it tastes perfect when diluted with water.
Elderflowers are now in full bloom and very plentiful around the countryside. Try to find some that aren't on the roadside, as they are less likely to be overly dusty from the traffic. Slicing the lemons for this recipe really adds to the flavour. I like to always make the most of my ingredients, so I save the lemon slices to add to homemade lemonade or a gin and tonic. They freeze best in a single layer on silicone or greaseproof paper and then pack into a freezer-proof plastic box.
For a sparkling summer drink, add a little to sparkling water, prosecco, gin or white wine. If refrigerated, elderflower cordial will keep for up to a year.

Elderflower Syrup

10 heads of elderflowers
900g (2lb) caster sugar
600ml (1 pint) cold water
zest of 2 unwaxed lemons then slice thinly


1. Put the sugar and water into a saucepan over a medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat. Leave to cool for 10 mins.
2. Add the elderflowers, stir and add the zest of the lemons then slice the lemon and add to the syrup.
3. Leave aside to cool. Cover and leave to infuse for 24 hours.
4. Next day pour the syrup through a sieve and again through a fine nylon sieve. Bottle. Dilute as desired.