I’m a stickler for typically British drinks and this one is the BEST! While mother and I were visiting the Museum of Garden History in London, a million years ago, an attractive set of english ladies were seated beside us and getting all giggly. They were sipping on elderFLOWER wine and having a great time….Sambucus nigra . In America, we grow the native, Sambucus canadensis.
Since then, I’ve tried making elderflower frisee, a slightly fizzy drink made with lemons, sugar and elderflower. Delicious…drink after just 24 hours. Now, I’ve advanced into wine-making. In 2008, a bumper year of elderflowers was on our doorstep. I plucked and fluffed, soaked and stewed. Not having champaign yeast, I used household yeast ( not recommended) and bottled up waaay more than I could even imagine possible. Several years (too many) I decided to try a bottle. It was a bit acid, but had a kick, so I diluted it with …muscadine wine and it was PERFECT!
This time , I’ve another bumper crop of flowers. Picked from behind Zollar’s Hardware in Cashiers, the blossoms were spectacular. I soaked them to float out the bugs, then warmed the sugar to dissolve. I prefer stevia and zylitol, but didn’t have any ready at hand. Next weekend I’ll do a trial of other sweeteners. Be sure to strip the flowers from the stem; stems contain calcium oxalate, not a great thing to ingest for the kidney stone prone. I added water, grape skin from Isons, sultanas, lemons, lemon juice and household yeast. I read that it should set up for 5 days. Hmmm, I’ve got 4 vats working and they are very pretty. I’ll report on the progress soon. First, I have to drink all those bottles from 2008!