A light sparkling elderflower champagne or elderflower juice without alcohol, but just as sparkly and aromatic as you want to be.
Learn how to make elderflower juice or non-alcoholic elderflower champagne, bubbly, refreshing, and incredibly delicious!
I grew up drinking this sparkling perfumed drink (socata in Romanian); my great-grandmother used to make it every summer. For us kids, there was no better drink during those times. Cold, straight from the fridge, sweet, bubbly, and so aromatic. Almost like the champagne but without the alcohol.
Nowadays, I make the juice using my German mother-in-law's recipe; sparkling juice is just as popular in Germany as in Romania. So, every year, I bottle liters and liters of this fizzy drink and make some elderflower syrup as well. Or I enjoy a quick and aromatic Elderflower Tea.
What do you need?
- Pick large, unblemished, fully opened, and fragrant flowers. Snap them underneath the head of the flower where all the small stems meet the large stem. Shake well to remove any small insects.
- It would be best if you did not wash them as they will lose lots of flavors. Instead, it would help if you aimed to pick them in places without traffic, away from the streets.
- Pick them on a sunny, dry day; they should not be wet from the rain.
- Use them immediately; they will go limp and lose flavor very quickly.
Lemons: preferably organic, unwaxed lemon as the peel will be used as well.
- A white, crystalline acid occurring naturally in many fruits. It is not the same as cream of tartar, which is a weakened form of tartaric acid made by combining tartaric acid with potassium hydroxide. So, the cream of tartar is less acidic than the acid.
- Tartaric acid plays a role in the fermentation of the drink, helps to make it bubbly, and preserves it.
- You can buy food-grade tartaric acid at the chemist/drugstore, or online.
How to make a fizzy elderflower drink?
- Wash the lemons and slice them. Set them aside.
- Pour water in a large container, like a food-grade bucket or a very large jar. Add sugar and stir well to help start to dissolve the sugar.
- Add lemon slices, flowers, and tartaric acid. Stir well again.
- Cover the bucket with a kitchen towel and let the mixture steep for 24 hours.
- Squeeze the juice out of the lemon slices into the mixture.
- Remove all the solids; it's easier to remove them with a slotted spoon and only then sieve the liquid.
- Sieve through a fine-meshed sieve lined with a muslin cloth. All the small impurities should be left behind.
- Strain the non-alcoholic elderflower champagne into sterilized bottles. Leave a little headspace to allow for expansion.
How to store elderflower juice?
Leave in a cool dark place for about 1-2 weeks before opening. Once you open a bottle, keep it refrigerated. It will keep for at least 3 months in a cool, dark place or the refrigerator.
Remove the green stems of the flowers, especially the thicker ones. Don't worry about the small thin ones. The stems contain bitter compounds, which might turn the juice slightly bitter.
Some people prefer to store the drink in plastic bottles should the champagne explode. However, I never had problems with that, I use sturdy bottles, and the juice will not ferment as long as real elderflower champagne or wine anyway. But do use plastic bottles if you are worried about that.
How to serve the elderflower drink?
You can drink it undiluted, always cold, straight from the fridge. Add some ice cubes as well.
However, if you find it too sweet, mix it with sparkling water to taste. My kids and my husband always drink it undiluted while I need to top it with water, a ratio of about 2 parts juice and 1 part carbonated water.
You can use it to make cocktails. Mix with gin or vodka, for example, you will love it! And talking about gin, how about making Elderflower Gin or a refreshing Elderflower Gin Cocktail?
More homemade drinks:
- Gooseberry Gin
- Gin Mojito (with Mint)
- Rhubarb and Ginger Gin
- Creme de Cassis Recipe (Black Currant Liqueur)
- Honey Liqueur
- Thermomix Baileys
Non-Alcoholic Elderflower Champagne (Elderflower Juice)
- 10 large elderflowers
- 2 large lemons Note 1
- 7 ½ quart water
- 5 cups granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons food-grade tartaric acid Note 2
- Prepare: Shake the elderflowers gently over the sink to remove any dirt or tiny insects. Remove the large green stems. Wash the lemons and slice them thickly. Set them aside.
- Mix: Pour water in a large container, like a food-grade bucket. Add sugar and stir well to help start to dissolve the sugar. Add lemon slices, flowers, and tartaric acid. Stir well again.
- Ferment: Cover the bucket with a clean kitchen towel. Leave for 24 hours.
- Squeeze the juice out of the lemon slices into the mixture. Remove all the solids with a slotted spoon. Sieve the liquid through a fine-meshed sieve lined with a muslin cloth. All the small impurities should be left behind.
- Strain into sterilized bottles. Leave a little headspace to allow for expansion. Leave in a dark, cool place for 1-2 weeks before opening. Once you open a bottle, keep it refrigerated.
- Preferably organic and unwaxed lemons, as you will use them with the peel.
- You can buy food-grade tartaric acid at the chemist, in large supermarkets, or online.
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