Valentine Warner’s Elderflower Cordial Recipe

British strawberries may herald the start of Wimbledon, Henley and lazy days of leather on willow but, according to folklore, it is the Elderflower which heralds the start of British summer.

Valentine Warner's Elderflower Cordial

Valentine Warner's Elderflower Cordial

This year to help celebrate the six week Elderflower harvest, Belvoir has enlisted the skills of Valentine Warner, the chef known for his love of seasonal  ingredients and in particular his ability to forage for them, to raise the profile of this quintessentially British plant that has so much to offer.

The elder occurs naturally all over Britain.  However, it is traditionally a hedgerow plant and as the hedgerows themselves are in decline so naturally occurring elders are in decline too.

To help raise awareness of the plight of the British hedgerow and wild flower meadows, Belvoir has forged a partnership with Plantlife, the charity that works to protect Britain’s wild plants and to improve understanding of the vital role they play in everyone’s lives.

Belvoir has committed to donating 10p to Plantlife for every person who signs up to the Belvoir newsletter.

Valentine has devised two truly delicious recipes featuring Elderflower cordial – Elderflower & Gooseberry Jelly and Elderflower Cream Shortbread Tartlets – perfect for that other great British institution of afternoon tea.

True to his passion, Valentine has also provided a recipe for Elderflower cordial itself, using freshly picked Elderflowers.

Whilst relatively easy to make, it does need to stand for 24 hours and requires a large quantity of fresh Elderflowers.  These can be great fun to pick but with only a short six week harvesting window – you have to be quick!

Valentine Warner’s Elderflower Cordial Recipe

Belvoir Elderflower cordial is a favourite, but if doing some outdoor DIY here is a simple recipe. Tartaric acid is widely available in supermarkets and chemists and will not get you arrested if you buy it in large amounts.

Makes roughly 2 x 500ml bottles


Tp make great Elderflower cordial, the flowers mst be picked and processed within three hours

25-30 largish elderflower heads, from a wild clean place.
1kg granulated sugar
25g tartaric acid
1 long peeled strip of unwaxed lemon
750ml nearly simmering water
Fine kitchen muslin

1.       Snap off any particularly thick stalks connected to the flower heads, leaving just the slim stems holding each blossom
2.       Put the flower heads in a large preserving pan or bowl
3.       Sprinkle over the sugar and tartaric acid
4.       Peel the lemon rind & add to the pan, along with all the lemon juice
5.       Add the hot water and stir gently but well. Cover loosely with a tea towel and leave to stand in a cool place for 24 hours, stirring every now and then.
6.       The sugar should completely dissolve and the syrupy cordial will become infused with the flavours of elderflowers. Strain the contents of the pan through a muslin-lined colander into a clean bowl. Decant into sterilised bottles
7.       Seal and store in sterilised bottles and store
8.       Sterilising Bottles -preheat the bottles in an oven at 180c/350f/Gas 4. Wash the bottles & stoppers really well and put on a baking sheet in the oven for 10 minutes. Leave to cool slightly before adding the cordial through a funnel.

Other Elderflower Recipes

Elderflower and Gooseberry Jelly

Elderflower Cream Shortbread Tartlets

More information

Belvoir supports the British Hedgerow