Take your elderflower cordial to the next level with a hint of sweet wild mint and zingy lime. Poured over ice and topped up with sparkling water, it’s reminiscent of a more fragrant, floral mojito (or nojito) and it tastes amazing!
I adore elderflowers. Those frothy sprays of tiny creamy flowers inviting you to bury your face in them, signalling that summer is here once more. It makes my heart so happy that it’s time for elderflower cordial and champagne again...
A note on picking elderflower - if you’ve ever heard someone say that elderflower can smell like cat pee, it’s true! Elderflowers should be picked when they are full of pollen, on a sunny morning, and definitely not when they're wet or when the stamens have gone brown.
They are also home to lots of bugs, and after picking them you could lay them out for a little while to let the bugs find new homes. You will end up with some tiny creepy crawlies in your brews, but that is inevitable, and you can strain them out.
For this recipe, I’m using water mint (Mentha aquatica). It has a really lovely sweet minty flavour that’s a lot milder than other mints like spearmint or peppermint. You could substitute this for another type of wild mint, garden mint, or a bunch of mint from the local shop works just as well.
Identifying water mint:
Habitat: Water mint loves to grow near water, alongside rivers, streams, next to ponds and boggy fields. It can also sometimes be found in damp woodlands. The giveaway is the classic mint family square stem, and the smell of mint if you crush a leaf between your fingers!
Leaves: The leaves are oval-shaped, grow in opposite pairs with serrated edges. They are usually green, but can sometimes have purple veins, and can be hairy or smooth.
Flowers: Purple or lilac flowers appear later in summer, forming domed clusters where the leaves join the stem and then one cluster at the top of the stem.
- 1 lime, juiced and zested
- 8 elderflower heads
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups sugar (I used light brown demerera, but golden or white would be great too)
- about 10 mint leaves
Makes approx 500ml syrup.
- Using a fork or your fingers, shake the elderflowers off the stems into a medium sized bowl. Zest and juice the lime, and rub the mint leaves gently between your fingers to release the oils and add them to the bowl too.
- Gently heat the water and sugar in a pan until the sugar has dissolved, then bring to a boil. Once boiling turn off the heat.
- Pour the hot syrup over the elderflowers and mint leaves, give it a mix, cover and leave to cool down overnight.
- The next day, strain your syrup through a cheesecloth or clean tea towel, and decant into sterilised bottles or jars.
- Transfer to the fridge and enjoy within the next couple of weeks! This is a lower sugar cordial recipe so won't keep as long as some cordials do. You could also freeze this cordial into ice cube trays to have ready to go portions all summer long.
To serve: fill up your glasses with ice, mint leaves and a lime wedge. Pour over your desired amount of cordial, then top up with sparkling water. This is one of my absolute favourite thirst-quenching summer drinks.
Bring out a pitcher of this at your next family bbq or garden drinks with the girls (You could add a little, or a lot, of white rum to the pitcher if you felt like it) and you’ll be very popular indeed!
I hope you enjoy making this delicious summer cordial! If you make it please tag me in your creations, I love seeing them.