How to distill spring into a bottle...
We dutch do it like this; You hop onto your bicycle on a sunny day in may or june. Preferably do not use the sporty variety of bikes on which you bend over, but the stirdy one, the one we call ‘oma’ (grandma) and on which you sit straight up and let the sunlight tickle your face.
You cycle sort of aimlessly out of town into friendly green meadows and sleepy farmhouses. Cows mow, sheep bêh and everything is looking particularly lush and lovely. Bills, bad jobs, dentist appointments, questionable life decisions...ah what the hell: Life is simply pretty good.
Now...let’s put this feeling in a bottle:
Oma comes to a screeking halt at a row of real perky looking elderflowertrees. Their fragrant screens of flowers almost reaching out to you to smell. Do. Do smell. Take a mental picture and archive in your brain under ‘Pretty Perfect Springday!’
Then proceed to pick about 20 screens of elderflowers. Be nice, don’t take em all from the same tree, cycle along if you need to, make a trip out of it and enjoy the day!
Then once you, reluctantly, do make it home, spread out the flowers and kindly give the little flies and buggies that used to live on them an hour or so to relocate.
Then cover the flowers with water, about three to four liters, just to cover the screens. Add a lemon in slices and leave overnight. The next day (it’s probably raining, those meadows don’t get green from sunshine alone), put everything through a collender and save the water in a big pot. Add 1 kg of sugar and 60 grams of citric acid (or 2 lemons) per liter. Bring this to a short boil and turn of the gas.
Take some pretty bottles you’ve been saving for you-never-knew-what, boil them out in a seperate pan to sterilise them from any left traces of winter. Fill em up with liquid spring, close the bottles with old-fashioned corks (spring tends to pop) and leave to cool.
To drink, mix in a glass: 1:6 cordial with water, sparkling springwater or, oh yes, mix a bit through your prosecco to toast to a long, warm, great summer coming right up!
P.S. Yes, I have tried to make this cordial sugarfree, but as the sugar also works as conservative I never managed to keep the cordial from getting moldy. If you have enough place in the fridge that might be a solution to keep it a little longer. Any tips or recipes on how to make a great sugarfree elderflower cordial (that keeps well for a month or two) are very welcome in the comments!