River Cottage Spring

Elderflower champagne recipe

Make your own bubbly with this elderflower champagne recipe from River Cottage Spring


4Food :
"Please note we've amended the amount of sugar in this recipe from the original; plus we've talked to Hugh about the various results it produces - he says this is down to the differences in elderflower crop and suggests using glass bottles with swing tops - plus keep an eye on the brew."

Makes about 6 litres

Ingredients

  • 4 litres hot water
  • 700g sugar
  • Juice and zest of four lemons
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • About 15 elderflower heads, in full bloom
  • A pinch of dried yeast (you may not need this)

METHOD

How to make elderflower champagne

1. Put the hot water and sugar into a large container (a spotlessly clean bucket is good) and stir until the sugar dissolves, then top up with cold water so you have 6 litres of liquid in total.

2. Add the lemon juice and zest, the vinegar and the flower heads and stir gently.

3. Cover with clean muslin and leave to ferment in a cool, airy place for a couple of days. Take a look at the brew at this point, and if it's not becoming a little foamy and obviously beginning to ferment, add a pinch of yeast.

4. Leave the mixture to ferment, again covered with muslin, for a further four days. Strain the liquid through a sieve lined with muslin and decant into sterilised strong glass bottles with champagne stoppers (available from home-brewing suppliers) or Grolsch-style stoppers, or sterilized screw-top plastic bottles (a good deal of pressure can build up inside as the fermenting brew produces carbon dioxide, so strong bottles and seals are essential).

5. Seal and leave to ferment in the bottles for at least a week before serving, chilled. The champagne should keep in the bottles for several months. Store in a cool, dry place.

© River Cottage

Warning

To avoid explosions, use strong bottles and strong seals. A really active mixture can produce lots of gas if left for a long period, so do remember to let it off reguarly to prevent explosions!

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Thursday 28 May 2009
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