Home-made Elderflower Cordial..

Eldeflower cordial (5)

Being born only a few miles from Stephen’s Green meant that any sort of ‘country lore’, for want of a better word, has come to me late in life! Having said all that:  a) I loved living where we did in Dublin, and b) I’ve embraced every kind of foraged  and seasonal cooking since. Turns out it’s never too late to learn :)

The recipes for Sloe Gin  (https://eatingforireland.com/recipe/sloesall-you-need-to-know/ )  and Rhubarb Gin (https://eatingforireland.com/recipe/champagne-rhubarb-gin/ ) are good examples, but also my use of local and seasonal ingredients has hopefully encouraged you to make the most of our great range of local foods.

Today is a new adventure for me – I’ve never made Elderflower Cordial before so as usual, I’ll do the experimenting, so that you don’t have to!

Before you start – the most difficult bit of this recipe for me was actually sourcing the Citric Acid – I tried 3 chemist shops and a health-food store before I hit gold. So if you happen to be in your local chemist, ask if they have it and buy some – you need 85 g for the recipe below (I had to buy 2x 50 g boxes today). I’m pretty sure it doesn’t go off, so you could keep a little extra for homemade lemonade if you fancy it :)

This is a really easy recipe, and Elderflower Cordial is one of my favourite things, (https://eatingforireland.com/recipe/the-summery-lunchtime-drink/)   so if you can persuade some kind person (Thanks Liz!) to give you about 20 little flower-heads, then get cracking!


  • Your largest saucepan – a stock pot that holds about 10 litres is perfect
  • Sieve, +/- a colander
  • Kitchen paper, a clean thin tea towel, or a sheet of Muslin
  • Long-handled wooden or other spoon
  • Potato peeler
  • Weighing scales
  • Measuring jug
  • Large bowl (to strain the cordial into)
  • Glass bottles, sterilised and sealable (see NOTES)



  • 2.5 Kg of sugar (granulated or caster – doesn’t matter which) Elderflower Cordial 2018 (3)
  • 85 g Citric Acid (see pic)
  • 1.5 litres of cold water
  • 20-25 heads of Elder Flowers
  • 2 large unwaxed lemons





  • Put the sugar and water into the pot.
  • Heat it relatively gently until the sugar dissolves, stirring every so often.
  • Using the potato peeler, peel strips of the lemon zest from each lemon, then cut each one into 1cm slices.

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  • Fill a bowl with cold water and wash the flowers gently (I did this by holding them by the stalks and swishing them through the water) then drain in a sieve lined with kitchen paper.
  • Using a sharp scissors, cut any long bits of stalk off at this stage.

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  • When the sugar has completely dissolved (check for grains on the back of the spoon), turn up the heat and bring the solution to the boil.
  • As soon as it boils, turn off the heat, then add the Elder Flowers, lemons, lemon zest and citric acid. Stir it all in well.

Elderflower Cordial 2018 (19) Elderflower Cordial 2018 (21)

  • Then cover the pot, and leave it in a cool spot for 24 hours to infuse.
  • After the 24 hours (which seemed endless to me!), start off by placing the sieve over a suitable container, then add a double layer of kitchen paper and ladle the liquid through, leaving most of the flowers and lemons behind at this stage.

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  • When you’ve used up most of the clear liquid, line a colander with a thin tea towel, then carefully transfer the remaining contents of the pot into it.

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  • Allow the last of the cordial to filter through and then, if you’re like me, gather up each corner of the tea towel and give it all a really good, tight, squeeze to get every last drop out..(you did all that work – you should have all of the cordial to show for it!)
  • Discard the dried-out flowers and lemons.
  • Using a jug with a good pouring spout, fill up your bottles, then seal and label.
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Liquid Sunshine!

  • Your cordial is ready to drink now, and will keep for about 6 weeks in a dark, cool spot or fridge. See NOTES.


  • My friend Janet suggests freezing some in plastic bottles for later on in the year. If you’re doing that, make sure you don’t over-fill the bottles as the cordial will expand as it freezes.
  • To sterilise your bottles, either boil them in a large saucepan, or put them through the dishwasher. Then dry them in a cool oven at 120 degrees.
  • The transfer of the cordial into the bottles can be a little sticky, so may I suggest that you do as I did, and keep it all either in, or very close to, the kitchen sink! I used a damp cloth to wipe the bottles once they were sealed as well, to remove any last stickiness..
  • I really enjoyed making this Elderflower Cordial, and I’ve got about 4 litres to show for my efforts. I’m putting a litre into the freezer, as Janet suggested above, for a rainy day :)
  • Don’t forget to try my Cocktail Hugo, which has Elderflower Cordial as an ingredient! https://eatingforireland.com/recipe/cocktail-hugo/

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I started writing down recipes in an old copybook when I was about 16. With 6 children at home, my Mother was always glad of a hand in the kitchen, and really allowed us to experiment - as long as we washed up afterwards, and left the kitchen immaculate! Having a tidy kitchen has followed me through my life, as has the habit of writing down my favourite recipes; except that these days I write them for my website, and add photographs when I can. The website really started when it occurred to me that my daughter might like to have these recipes when I've forgotten them. In my early days of cooking for family and friends, I used to phone my Mum all the time to ask her for the recipe for some of our favourite family dinners. She rarely had a recipe to hand - I think, like me, she made a lot of it up as she went along.. So welcome to Eating for Ireland - these are the recipes that my friends and family having been eating these past 40 years.. yes, I truly am ancient! They are tried and tested, and have worked for me for all that time - I have updated them as new ingredients became available - I really hope you'll find something that you can make into a family favourite of your own. You don't have to tell anyone where you found these great new dishes that you're serving up - it can be our little secret, but I'd really love it if you could give me a sneaky 'follow' on Facebook and Instagram.. So off you go - have a good rummage around, you're bound to find something new! My sincere thanks to all of you who have found a recipe that you liked and dropped me a line to tell me - I really do love to hear from you! Happy Cooking! Becks xx

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