Summer Cordials (elderflower, gooseberry, blackcurrant & mint)
Now that summer is here, there’s no better way to enjoy the long evenings than with a long glass of cool fruit cordial. They’re surprisingly easy to make, and cost a fraction of fancy shop bought brands.
Elderflower cordial is the classic way to keep the taste of summer going long into the autumn months. Elder bushes usually start flowering in mid June, and carry on for several weeks, giving plenty of chance for a few weekend sessions of picking and making.
It’s best to pick the flowers after a day or two of sun as this maximises the amount of flavour you can extract. Try and find bushes well away from dusty or busy roads so the flowers are as clean as possible. You’ll need 20 to 30 flower heads for every litre and a half of cordial, it sometimes helps to take along a small step ladder or bend down some high branches with a walking stick.
The only extra ingredients you need are some lemons, sugar and citric acid, which you can usually find in brewing shops, hardware stores or chemists.
Making the cordial is as simple as shaking the flowers to remove any insects, bringing all the ingredients to a simmer and then leaving overnight for the flavours to infuse. Here is an easy to follow elderflower cordial recipe.
Other summer fruits also make delicious cordials, and are made using the same technique. Variations include gooseberry and lemon or blackcurrant and mint, try this page for some ideas.
The finished cordial should then be diluted about twenty to one with still or sparkling water, or even white wine.
Cordials can also be used when cooking, a drizzle will liven up ice cream or make for an interesting addition to salad dressing. Try adding elderflower cordial to gooseberry crumble for a lovely mix of early summer flavours.
Patteson’s glass have a large range of swing top or corked bottles ideal for keeping cordial. If you’re storing your cordial for longer than a few weeks then make sure you keep the bottles in a cool, dark place.