Elderflower Champagne

Elderflower Champagne

I’m very very sad to say that elderflower season is officially over. The season runs from 31st May every year for as long as the flowers last. It would seem as though the flowers in North London all disappeared without a trace over the last two weeks, though there were two sprays of flowers left in my garden just long enough for me to take a couple of pictures of our latest batch of Elderflower Champagne.

This fizzy floral wine is a great way of extending the elderflower season from June to the whole of the summer and beyond. The recipe below will produce 10 litres (or 2 gallons) of this fantastic Elderflower Champagne.

Hedgerow homebrewing doesn't have to be expensive or difficult. Find out just how easy it is to make your own Elderflower champagne from ingredients growing in a park or garden near you! Get the recipe for this fizzy wine at Supper in the Suburbs.

The Science

I guess the first place we should start is the science behind the fizzy wine. Essentially, elderflower wine is an elderflower infused sugar and water mix. Natural yeast (or champagne yeast if you choose to use it) feeds off of the sugars in the water, in doing so they begin to ferment creating alcohol and carbon dioxide bubbles! By carefully measuring the ratios of water, sugar and yeast you can control how much alcohol and CO2 is made. The recipe below should get you a fizzy wine that is roughly 11% ABV (provided the yeast behaves itself!)

It’s amazing how incredibly simple it is to brew your own alcohol. Because it relies on yeast the scientific process really isn’t all that different to making bread which, by the way, also produces small amounts of alcohol! Jon has been brewing his own beer for quite a while now (he even has grand plans to grow his own hops plant in our new house) but beyond infusing spirits with seasonal flavours (like this Cranberry Gin) I hadn’t brewed my own alcohol before. Watching the yeast wake up and begin the fermentation process was incredibly exciting.

Hedgerow homebrewing doesn't have to be expensive or difficult. Find out just how easy it is to make your own Elderflower champagne from ingredients growing in a park or garden near you! Get the recipe for this fizzy wine at Supper in the Suburbs.

Hedgrow Brews

You may be lucky enough to have an elderflower plant in your back garden, but if you live in the City like I do it’s very unlikely that you will. We had to go off on a bit of a trek to find some and after asking around we discovered that there was a big plant in a park near the house we are trying to buy. So, on a sunny Sunday morning we took a big old bin bag an stuffed it full of elderflowers. You might remember that the first thing we made was this Elderflower Cordial which you can then use to make these Elderflower and Gooseberry Cupcakes.

It’s not just the scientific process which is magical. There’s something quite special about producing something as flavoursome as Elderflower Champagne from very basic ingredients. After all, the most important ingredient, the elderflower, is free and grows on the side of the road and in parks up and down the country! Why spend ยฃ30 on a bottle of Bollinger at the supermarket when, for the cost of a small packet of yeast (which you can get on Amazon), some sugar and water, you can produce your own Elderflower Champagne!

Hedgerow homebrewing doesn't have to be expensive or difficult. Find out just how easy it is to make your own Elderflower champagne from ingredients growing in a park or garden near you! Get the recipe for this fizzy wine at Supper in the Suburbs.

The Recipe

Elderflower Champagne

Yield: 10 litres

Ingredients

  • 10 litres of water
  • 1600g sugar
  • Florets from 30 elderflower sprays
  • Zest and juice of 8 lemons
  • 5g sachet Champagne yeast
  • Enough champagne bottles to store 10 litres of Champagne. Bottles must be able to take carbonated drinks.

Instructions

  1. Begin by steralising all of your equipment. This can be done with a chemical steralising powder or by using soapy water and leaving to dry.
  2. Pour 4 litres of hot water in to your steralised fermentation bucket along with 1600g of sugar.
  3. Stir until the sugar has dissolved.
  4. Top up with the remaining 6 litres of cold water and add the elderflower florets, lemon zest and juice.
  5. In the meantime, activate the yeast with a little warm water and sugar (according to the packets instructions).
  6. Add to the sugar water and elderflower, stir well and put the lid on the fermentation bucket.
  7. Leave to ferment for 2 weeks.
  8. Strain the elderflower and zest from the champagne. Leave to rest for a further week before bottling in freshly steralised champagne bottles.
  9. If the champagne has lost a little fizz when you bottle, add a little syrup made from hot water and sugar (no more than 10g of sugar per litre).

Notes

If you want to know exactly how alcoholic your champagne is before you drink it, you can take gravitational readings and follow a simple formula. Once you've dissolved the sugar in all ten litres of water you need to take your first reading. Fill the hydrometer tube up to about 2 inches from the top with the sugar water. Insert the hydrometer giving it a little spin as you do so. The hydrometer will slowly sink until it stops and bobs up and down gently. When the hydrometer comes to a stop, look at where the liquid intersects the markings on the hydrometer. Record the gravity reading - this is called your 'Original Gravity'. Repeat this process immediately before bottling. This is called your 'Final Gravity'. To get your ABV, subtract the Original Gravity from the Final Gravity then multiply this number by 131.25. If you like formulas then use the following: (FG - OG) x 131.25 = ABV %

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Hedgerow homebrewing doesn't have to be expensive or difficult. Find out just how easy it is to make your own Elderflower champagne from ingredients growing in a park or garden near you! Get the recipe for this fizzy wine at Supper in the Suburbs.

#ProjectElderflower

Even though the elderflower season is over I’ll still be instagramming and tweeting using the #ProjectElderflower hashtag as we enjoy our ten litres of elderflower champagne. It might take us a while to get through it all! If you’ve baked, or brewed anything with elderflower this summer do use the hashtag I’d love to see what you’ve made! If you’re not on instagram or twitter just leave a comment below!



42 thoughts on “Elderflower Champagne”

    • Hi Lisa. It is most definitely a “thing” and a tasty thing at that ๐Ÿ˜› the French probably wouldn’t be so happy with us calling it champagne but it is a truly delicious sparkling wine! You can get fermentation buckets really cheap on Amazon or just sue any large container with a lid!

    • Oh really? Where did you get your recipe from? Would be interesting to see how it differs! Good luck and I hope yours turns out well. We’re still slowly working our way through the bottles and good news, none have exploded yet!

  • Oh, how interesting. This is the first time I’ve ever heard of anyone adding yeast. Is this done to make it more alcoholic? We’ve been making it in our family for more years than I care to remember and it goes very fizzy and slightly alcoholic, but relies on the natural yeasts present on the flowers. I missed the elderflower season altogether this year – feeling miffed ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • It no doubt does make it more alcoholic. We’re always a little nervy that there won’t be much natural yeast present, this way we can guarantee a certain amount of fermentation in a set time period. Shame you missed the season this year. Fingers crossed you get to make a batch next year ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Hahaha I like your way of thinking Liz ๐Ÿ˜‰ we cracked a bottle open this weekend just because!!! A lovely way to cool off in the summer sun ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks Elizabeth. I’ve been watching my OH brew for a while now and found the science behind it fascinating. I’m definitely still a novice but pleased to have cracked elderflower champagne! If only I could set up my own gin still…

    • Thanks Christie. It is perhaps a little cheeky to call it champagne when it’s made in a home kitchen rather than France but it doesn’t sound quite as exciting as just “sparkling wine” ๐Ÿ˜›

  • Elderflower champagne and cordial are some of the few things I’ve not tried to make as I know you have to get started as soon as you pick the flowers and get them home and I’m often slow to get moving! I do looove them though!

    • You really should Kavey! There are elderflower plants ALL OVER our patch of North London ๐Ÿ™‚ will have to wait ’til next year now ๐Ÿ™

  • I’ve never heard of champagne yeast but I NEED some in my life! What a marvellous project. I don’t think I’ve found any nice elderflower trees before but I will make sure I keep an eye out for the next season.

    • Definitely do!!! The yeast is incredibly cheap actually. I thought it would be pricey just because it’s “champagne” yeast ๐Ÿ˜› good old Amazon ๐Ÿ˜‰

          • Emma,

            Thank you. Would it be the same for the yeast ? I have purchased those from Amazon you suggested, but they state 4.2 ltr to 22.6 ltr so would 10g be too much ??

          • Hi Darren. In that case Id stick with the one sachet. The yeast will sinply keep multiplying as it eats all the sugar! Let ne know how it goes ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Emma,

    Where do I need to leave the fermentation bucket once ingredients are complete ?

    Do I need to check or mix during the two weeks ??

    • Hi Darren, no need to mix or do anything special, just leave it be. I leave mine on the kitchen counter but not in direct sunlight or too close to a heat source like the oven. Just somewhere shady and with a steady consistent temperature, not too hot, not too cold. Hope that helps!

  • Emma,
    Great thanks for your advice much appreciated.
    All systems go !! Will keep in touch if you donโ€™t mind and let you know how it goes.

    • Absolutely. Would love to hear how you get on! I havent made any yet this year but I love how depending on the natural yeasts and age of your elderflower it changes every time ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Hi, definitely going for this recipe! Once youโ€™ve siphoned it into the bottles, how long do you leave it for? Also, when adding the syrup if itโ€™s lost fizz, is that 10g of sugar per litre of syrup, or 10g of sugar per litre of champagne? Thanks!

    • Hi Michael!

      Best to leave it for a week. You can check on it in that time and release some of the pressure if the yeast is very active. If that’s the case you can try it a little sooner.

      Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Hey Emma – have you ever tried making it without adding yeast – in other words relying on the natural yeast in the flowers? I’m going to try that tomorrow! Andy

    • Hi Andy, no I haven’t though I know it is possible. I use the chamoagne yeaat so that I can have more consistency of flavour. I believe wild yeast also ferments more slowly so your carbonation levels will continue to increase over time. If you are planning on storing it for any length of time I would regularly “burp” the bottles to make sure there isn’t too much pressure building up. Noone wants exploding bottles! Would love.to hear how you get on. I hope it works!!!

  • This sounds great, I do love the flavor of elderflower and the wonderful aroma. Sadly we don’t get them where I am these days, but if I ever find them, this might have to be on the list!

  • I do make my own wine and beer, though haven’t made a batch recently. I was gonna make some dandelion wine but ran out of time( flowers all went to seed) before I had a chance to go collecting.

    I would love to try this at home…I wonder how long elderberry takes to grow!

  • Hiya emma my fella &me have made elderflower champagne….ive been ‘burping the bottles ‘loads every day..x 3 have expldoded so were left with 10…it will be 7 days on saturday…some are still super fizzy and some sparkling….do you thi k i should mark & defizz only the super fizzy ones till day 7…or is this a sighn that they are ready to chill?x thanks x philippa x

    • Eek Phillipa it sounds like youve got some seriously fiery yeast on your hands! Sorry to hear some have already exploded despite the burping.

      To avoid the rest having the same messy fate you need to slow down the rate of fermentation – Id defimitely recommend refridgerating.

      What bottles are you using? Are they designed for holding fizzy drinks? Im wondering whether its worth you using more robust bottles. Weve even used old plastic fizzy drink bottles in the past.

      One last tip – the champagne will lose a bit of fizz in the fridge so get it out an hour or so before serving so it comes up to room temp and gets fizzy again.

  • Couldnโ€™t resist dipping my finger in bucket before bottling my elderflower champagne, it seemed very dry, stuck to recipe with precision. Have bottled it all
    and hope it wonโ€™t be toooo dry x smells lovely though.!

  • Emma,
    Not sure whatโ€™s happened I have followed recipe and have opened a bottle some four days after bottling.

    There is no fizz and the taste is between vinagar and yeast.

    Any suggestions other than dispose ??

    • Hi Darren so sorry to hear that, it is gutting. Ive only ever had one batch go bad on me like that. Its more than likely down to bacteria which produces acetic acid when it comes in to contact with your wine qnd oxygen. Frustratingly this bacteria is everywhere so whilst it could be down to your equipment not having been steralised properly there is a chance it was just bad luck. The warm weather probably hasn’t helped either – if the temp is too low there’s no fermentation but wiyh it as warm as it is now bacteria can thrive.

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