Elderflower Champagne

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

Makes about 6 litres
Ingredients

* About 24-30 elderflower heads, in full bloom
* 2kg sugar
* 4 litres hot water
* Juice and zest of four lemons
* 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
* 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 sterilised 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 a further eight days before serving, chilled. The champagne should keep in the bottles for several months.

Elderflower Champagne