In the pink. Make elderflower cordial

How to make elderflower cordial

If you want a non-alcoholic drink that is refreshing, what do you choose?  I often go for an elderflower option. Did you know it’s easy to make elderflower cordial or syrup at home? It’s the perfect time to go on the hunt and pick elderflowers.

Beautiful pinky purple elderflowers
Beautiful pinky purple elderflowers – perfect for cordial

What truly inspire me are the flowers on the purple leaved elder (sambucus nigra) in my garden. Each time I walk past, the flowers zapp their scent my way. I just had to do something with them. Of course, if you’ve not got a purple leaved elder, the standard white flowers will do very well. But as you see, the flowers from the purple leaved elder make a fetching pink hued drink.

It’s amazing how elderflowers can differ from bush to bush – even those growing next to each other. So seek out the very best. Pick ones whose scent appeals to you and never pick too near a road.

Soak the elderflowers overnight
Soak the elderflowers overnight with the lemon

Pick the best elderflowers

There are many different recipes for elderflower cordial, some call for citric acid others not, some steep overnight, others take a quicker route. This is my version. I wanted a good balance between the elderflower flavour and a hint of citrus and I discovered that soaking overnight gave just the right balance.

Elderflower Cordial Recipe

Elderflower cordial or syrup recipe
Ingredients for the elderflower cordial

Elderflower cordial is really easy to make. This recipe makes a concentrated syrup. When it is ready, use the cordial in a diluted form – you could add sparkling water for a bit of fizz. A good tonic will go very nicely or add it to a cocktail. Lemonade is probably a little too sweet.

The amount of sugar used is high, but you will be diluting it. Do reduce the amount by a quarter if you prefer.

It’s best to drink this cordial fairly quickly – within a month or so (if it lasts that long) You’ll need some Kilner type jars or bottles to store the mixture. I keep mine in the fridge.

It’s such a refreshing drink and great to have on hand. Here’s to the summer!

The elderflower cordial. Isn't it pretty?

Elderflower Cordial

Danielle Ellis
Elderflower cordial or syrup is so versatile. Add it to cocktails or make a refreshing non-alcoholic drink or make an elderflower sorbet. Follow this easy recipe to make your own. 
Prep Time 1 day
Cook Time 28 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Drinks
Cuisine British
Servings 10


  • 15-20 Elderflower heads Pink or white
  • 1 litre water
  • 1 large lemon sliced
  • 1 kilo granulated sugar


  • Make sure you have no bugs in the flowers. Give them a good shake. Place them in a large bowl with the sliced lemon
  • Boil the water and pour over the flowers. Leave overnight.
  • Remove the sliced lemon and set aside. You'll be using the slices. 
  • Remove the flowers and discard.
  • Strain the liquid through a jelly bag placed in a sieve if you have one or kitchen paper.
  • Place the sugar in a large saucepan. Add the liquid and the sliced lemon.
    Soak the elderflowers overnight
  • Heat slowly at first to dissolve the sugar.
  • Let the mixture come to the boil and boil for ten minutes.
  • Keep in a cool place or the fridge and use diluted in drinks and desserts. Try to use within one month.
    The filtered elderflower juice - what an amazing colour


Remember to pick your elderflowers well away from traffic or pollution.
Ideally you'll need a jelly bag to strain the cordial, or use kitchen paper in a sieve. 
If possible, store in the fridge, it last much better. 
Keyword elderflower, elderflower syrup, non-alcoholic drink
Tried this recipe?Mention @Breadbakerdani or tag #SevernBitesBreadmaking!
Pink or white, elderflower cordial is such a delight. Easy to make recipe
Pink or white, elderflower cordial or syrup is so easy to make

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8 thoughts on “In the pink. Make elderflower cordial”

  1. 5 stars
    I’ve just finished my first attempt with white flowers. The taste is exactly right for me. Tomorrow I’ll make a second litre and some to share with my children and neighbour whose tree the flowers came from. Ideally securing next years supply!
    I’m grateful, thank you.

  2. This cordial will keep for years. I’ve just finished some from 2018. But if you want to be sure of keeping it, don’t reduce the sugar content. It will probably need straining again when you use it if it’s been kept for long. If it develops a cap of mould like substance, lift it off and strain it through muslin. And don’t use kilner jars, use drink bottles – there is less area to develop mould. The mould is like that on jam, safe and easily removed.

  3. I love making and drinking elderflower cordial but I’ve never seen the purple kind. It looks so pretty! I’m thinking it would go very nicely in a glass of prosecco too!

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