Easy Beginners Guide to Cordials

Making Cordials is a really fun thing to do and a first for many on their journey of free food foraging!

Elderflowers in a container

The most well known has to be Elderflower Cordial, but using the same recipe listed below you can make many different cordials using the following flowering plants

  • Meadowsweet
  • Gorse
  • Birch Leaves
  • Wild strawberries
  • Rose
  • Lilac

And many more!

So for the purposes of this blog, we will be going with the easiest recipe for Elderflower cordial I know!

You will need:

  • 2 ½kg white sugar , either granulated or caster
  • 2 unwaxed lemons
  • 20 fresh elderflower heads, stalks trimmed
  • 85g citric acid (from chemists or your local Polish Food shop)
  • 1.5 Liters of water


Add the sugar to the water and allow it come to the boil. Letting the sugar dissolve completely. Dont let it boil though and be soooo careful! Boiling sugar water burns like the fires of hell! Stir it regularly and carefully to ensure it comepletely disolves.

While its simmering, peel the lemons and cut into wedges

Gently shake your flower heads to remove any tiny bugs, but don’t wash them. You’ll remove the pollen which gives it its flavour!

When the sugar has dissolved, stir in the citric acid, then add the lemons

Pot of cordial

Give it a really good stir, pressing some of the lemons against the side to release the juices. I usually use 3 lemons because I love a stronger citrus flavour!

Then cover and leave to sit overnight, stirring it occasionally.

Be warned though, it will be sticky! so make sure you don’t spill any!

The following day, heat up the oven to about 100’ and thoroughly wash some jam jars or old bottles and leave them to dry in the oven. This will kill off any nasty bugs and effeftively sterilise them. and then get to work straining. I found the best and easiest way to do this is to use Bounty Roll. They are fantastic and work extremely well. I line a collander with about 3 sheets of bounty and place it over another saucepan.

This is time consuming and slow, the drip, drip, drip! But you dont want any bits left in your cordial, so be patient! Fill your bottles and close tightly.

The cordial will last months stored in a dark press in the airtight bottles and once opened a couple of weeks in the fridge!

Add to champagne, persecco, sparkling water or mix it with other cordials for a non alcoholic treat!

Bottle of cordial