Yes here in England it is grey, dismal and dour. But summer is here. How do I know? Well, the Elderflowers are in full bloom and there’s this little thing called a calendar we futuristic mortals have in our possession that tells us today is the summer equinox – not just a piggy face. Otherwise, who’d know?
So,a few posts back , I promised you I’d find the best Elderflower Champagne recipe / method I could put my trotters on and I think, my little piggies, that this is it. It’s simple, easy to follow and requires no specialist equipment.
Elderflower Champagne isn’t strictly speaking Champagne, of course, as it isn’t made from grapes, for a start, and nor is it produced in the Champagne region of France. Rightly speaking, this concoction could be labelled ‘English Sparkling Wine’, but I think I prefer the name Elderflower Fizz, because really, that’s exactly what this is.
A recipe for Elderflower Fizz then, is what you’ll find below, but there’s just a few things I’d like to impart before we start:
1. don’t use glass bottles – when the pressure builds they explode like little sticky glass bombs (I will not be held responsible for any acts of terrorism in connection with this recipe, so don’t even think about blaming me).
2. Pick open, cream Elderflowers – no old, brown flowers, please.
3. Keep your eye on the plastic bottles once you’ve screwed the lids on – let a little gas out if they’re looking particularly bulbous! Call them wine farts, if you like.
And a last note: My Elderflower Fizz is
a work in progress (I’m up to day 7), but I promise to come back and update you all on its sublime taste (I can only hope) when it’s complete. SUBLIME! After three weeks it’s fizzy, delicate, not too sweet and tastes of lychee and lemons.
Elderflower FizzIngredients: Water (4 litres) Elderflowers (6-8 heads) Lemons (2 washed) Sugar (750 grams) Cider Vinegar (2 tbsp) Yeast (you will only need this if your wine doesn’t start to produce bubbles after a week) Equipment: A fork 2 large pans / bowls – one with a lid, or something to cover it with (clingfilm is fine) Muslin / cotton 2 plastic pop bottles with lids (sterilise before use) or a sieve
1. Pour all of the water in to the large pan.
2. Shake the Elderflower heads over the sink to remove any bugs and then using a fork remove the flowers from their stem.
3. Add the flowers to the pan.
4. Then wash and slice two lemons (peel and all) and add these to the water too.
5. Cover the pan and leave for 24 hours.
6. Strain the liquid, Elderflowers and lemon through a piece of muslin, or a sieve, in to another pan, or large bowl.
7. Add the sugar and cider vinegar and stir, for around five minutes until the sugar has dissolved.
8. Pour the mixture carefully in to sterilised pop bottles leaving about a sixth of the bottle empty. Before screwing on the lid squeeze the bottle so that as the gas begins to build pressure the bottles have room to expand without bursting.
9. Screw the lids on the bottles and leave for a week.
10. After a week check to see if small bubbles are beginning to form (if not you will need to add a pinch of yeast to each bottle to begin fermentation). At this point keep your eye on the fizz and release a little gas if the bottles become too bulbous.
11. After two weeks the bubbles should have slowed and once they have stopped you can refrigerate your Fizz and get ready to serve.
The longer the Elderflower Fizz is left the drier and the more fizzy it becomes. It’ll last around a year – just in time for next year’s batch.
Note: this recipe creates two pop bottles worth of fizz – which is all I wanted since this was a trial – but you can of course double, treble, quadruple… the ingredients to make as much as your piggy heart intends.
Finally, the alcohol content is low, so you’ll have to drink plenty to induce a little squiffiness. Enjoy!
Champagne Piggy ©