Thursday, 24 June 2010

Hawthorn Brandy and Solstice Elderflower champagne...

Over the last couple of months, my husband and I have been walking along our local hedgerows and it inspired us to try out making some 'brews'!

During the end of May, we collected some hawthorn blossoms and made hawthorn brandy.  Ideally we should have collected the flowers earlier as they were just about to go over.  I think we caught them in time though.

We collected enough to fill one large kilner jar and poured in some cheap and nasty brandy:
Filling the jar with the blossoms

Pouring in the brandy

We then added some sugar...

 The brew with the sugar settled on the top

We the sealed it up, gave it a good shake and now it's time to leave it for 3 months, giving it a shake once a day...

I'm looking forward to opening it and trying it for the first time (I hope its nice and not like paint stripper!)  I'll post another blog when it's been tested to let you know how it turned out!

For Litha, we tried making some elderflower champagne.  We got the following recipe from

Elderflower Champagne

A traditional favourite, Elderflowers peak at Midsummer. Pick them in the fullness of a sunny day, ideally on Midsummer's Day. The Elder is sacred to the Mother Goddess and is often called the Witch's Tree, the Elder Mother, or Queen of the Trees. It is protective with wonderful healing properties. It aids transformation, change and renewal, and we are at a major turning point in the Wheel of the Year, so the gift of Elderflowers is welcome.


8 litres water

1.25 kg sugar

8 large elderflower heads

4 lemons

4 tablespoons mild white wine vinegar

Do use screw top bottles - large plastic bottles used for squash etc are perfect. This stuff will fizz and if not bottled tightly it can explode! I keep mine in the garden so should the worst occur it isn't going to make a mess all over the kitchen or larder... Before you begin make sure the elderflowers are clean - no little wandering insects or bugs.

Boil the water and dissolve the sugar into it (Fairtrade is good)

When the water is cool, add the elderflowers, juice of two of the lemons and slices of the other two, plus the vinegar.

Cover with a clean cloth and leave for a day.

Strain through a fine sieve or piece of muslin, carefully squeezing the flowers to extract as much flavour as possible.

Store in clean screw top bottles.

Leave well alone for 10 days or so. Drink within a month. Enjoy and give thanks to the Spirit of Elder.

Well, our bottles are currently hidden in a shady part of the garden and will be opened in 10 days.  I'm really REALLY looking forward to trying the finished product because it tasted beautiful after just a day of brewing in the pans!  It's so easy to make, so if you hurry, you might be able to catch the elderflowers before they go over to make your own champagne! 

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