This is the simplest and cheapest recipe to make your own alcohol and also, it’s super lovely; fragrant and is fizzy. With the fashion for ‘Prosecco’ at the moment this made excellent Christmas gifts for my family, and I’ve also heard of people making it for the start of their wedding reception as a cheaper and more personal version of ‘Champagne’ to toast with. ￼
You really don’t need to buy any expensive home brewing kits for this one but if you do buy one, you can always move onto different hedgerow varieties such as ‘Nettle Beer’ or even store-bought kits which are great fun to try out.
Also, if you really get into making alcohol at home it’s a good idea to buy a hydrometer* (even supermarkets sell these now) as it will tell you the percentage of alcohol you make but if you are just trying a few basic recipes, it’s not really worth it.
- 4 litres hot water
- 2 litres cold water
- 700g sugar
- Juice and zest of 4 lemons
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 15 elderflower heads
- Pinch dried yeast
- Large bucket or professional fermenting container (You can buy online – see links below)
- Some bottles. I like the ones with the pressure release tops as Elderflower wine can produce a lot of gas so it’s a bit safer than screw top or sealed glass bottles (see below)
- In Springtime head to the local park and look for the Elderflower trees. They have a spray of flowers out from one stem and the leaves have serrated edges. They are best when they are white and pick heads from about shoulder height, that way you’ll ensure you get an Elderflower and nothing toxic as Elderflowers grow from bushes and not directly from the ground. Collect around 20 heads cutting them off with scissors/shears.
- Dissolve the sugar in the hot water.
- Add the cold water and the rest of the ingredients.
- Leave to ferment with either a pressure lid or a piece of cloth covering the top for about a week. Stirring occasionally.
- After a week the sediment should have sunk to the bottom so decant either very carefully with a jug or with a syphon (tube or pipe straw).
- Pour into bottles and seal.
- It can be drunk immediately or kept for a couple of months.
I’d also highly recommend The River Cottage method as that’s the first place I ever saw someone make this lovely brew (https://www.rivercottage.net/recipes/sparkling-elderflower-wine).
Some materials to buy if you want to do this recipe:
Bottles with swing top lids
Beer making kit with basic brewing container