Have Fun Learning English

English Recipes

Recipe - Elderflower Cordial

Elderflower cordial (my favourite) is a soft drink made largely from a refined sugar and water solution and uses the flowers of the elderberry (latin name: sambucus nigra). It was very popular in Victorian times, but versions of an elderflower cordial recipe can be traced back to Roman times. It has made a bit of a comeback nowadays. You should mix the cordial with still or sparkling water, to make a refreshing, non-alcoholic, summertime drink.

Ingredients (makes about 5 pints)

30 elderflower heads (fresh - the tiny buds should have just opened and come to bloom)
6 pints (3 litres) of boiling water
2lb (900g) caster sugar
1 packet of citric acid (available from chemists)
2 unwaxed oranges (sliced)
3 unwaxed lemons (sliced)


  1. Rinse the elderflowers gently in running water.

  2. Dissolve the sugar in the boiling water in a very large mixing bowl. Leave to cool.

  3. Add the citric acid, the sliced oranges and lemons, and then the flowers.

  4. Leave in a cool place for 24 hours, stirring occasionally.

  5. Strain through a muslin cloth and pour the strained mixture into sterilized bottles. (Make sure the bottles are airtight).


Caster / Castor sugar: This is the British term for a refined sugar with small grains ( between granulated and icing sugar). It is known as ‘superfine’ sugar in America.

To pour: To transfer a liquid from one container to another.

To slice: To cut something into even-sized thin pieces using a sharp knife or food processor.

More English Recipes