ELDERFLOWER CHAMPAGNE

Ingredients:

2 kg sugar
10 unwaxed lemons
30
heads of nice, fresh elderflowers (not picked by a busy road). Leave ‘creamy coloured’ heads to mature to berries for later wine making.
4 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
Champagne Yeast
yeast nutrient

Approx. 16 litres of water


Equipment

large spoon
5 gallon/23 litre fermentation bucket
fork
straining bag
bottles (able to hold higher pressures)



Instructions

Sterilise and rinse all equipment.

 

1. Boil 4 litres of water and dissolve the sugar.
2. Transfer into a brewing bin and add top up with water to the 16 litre mark.
3. Remove the florets (a fork is useful) as too much green stalk can impart bitter flavours.
4. Add the lemon juice and zest, the vinegar and the flower heads and stir gently.
5. Allow to cool to 20
oC, add the yeast and stir.  (If you prefer, you can omit the yeast and see if the natural yeasts can do their job.  If no fermentation is evident after a couple of days, add yeast and continue as planned.)
6. Cover and leave to ferment for around 2 weeks. 
7. Strain the liquid through a straining bag and syphon into sterilised bottles; PET, champagne or glass swing-top bottles are best.
  Standard wine bottles are not suitable.
8. Seal and leave to ferment in the bottles for a further eight days before serving chilled.

 

This will make a drink of approximately 4% ABV.

 

You must check your bottles EVERY day to make sure there is no build-up of pressure which could be dangerous if you are using glass!  You might need to release any build-up of pressure by opening the lid and allowing excess gas to escape.  It is easy to spot plastic PET bottles starting to expand and swell; just turn the cap and let some pressure out before resealing.

 

 

 

Open with care, ideally outside as there is a tendency to fizz over, especially if not very chilled. Pour carefully as bottles will contain some sediment.

 

 

 

Best served in a glass jug with plenty of ice.