How to make Homemade Cordials; Elderflower Cordial, Lemonade and Ginger Syrup

Summer in lockdown is the perfect time to refresh our potion making skills with some of our favourite summer cordials.

My daughters were great Worst Witch fans and remember with glee when Mildred Hubble had to get up at dawn to make a summer flower potion, now they are older they know it’s Elderflower Cordial.

My youngest daughter is a dab hand at making the most refreshing and easiest Homemade Lemonade, which is perfect to sip in the garden. And my eldest daughter who is a bit of a potion maker always like to put the best health intentions into her Ginger Syrup which is a must for anyone who sometimes gets a little queasy when their anxiety plays it. It’s also a fantastic vodka cocktail pick me up too 😉

How to make Elderflower Cordial, Homemade Lemonade and Ginger Syrup

Elderflower Cordial

Two colanders full of Elder Flower, picked on a dry sunny morning and washed

50 grams of citric acid

Four large lemons

2 1/2 kg Granulated or caster sugar

  1. In a bucket, add kettle full (1.5 litres) of boiling water and dissolve sugar and citric acid to make a simple sugar syrup.
  2. Squeeze one or two lemons and add to the sugar syrup.
  3. Slice the rest of the lemons and add them to the bucket.
  4. Add the elderflower heads and stir.
  5. Place some fabric over the bucket and let it steep overnight in a cool dark place
  6. Line a colander with a clean tea towel, then sit it over a large bowl or pan. Ladle in the syrup – let it drip slowly through.
  7. Discard the bits left in the towel (we use a pillow case).
  8. Use a funnel and a ladle to fill sterilised bottles (run glass bottles through the dishwasher, or wash well with soapy water. Rinse, then leave to dry in a low oven).
  9. Pour cordial over ice and dilute with water to taste.
  10. The cordial is ready to drink straight away and will keep in the fridge for up to 6 weeks. 

Homemade Lemonade

4 unwaxed lemons

1 cup of granulated or caster sugar

1 cup of boiling water


  1. Make a simple sugar syrup with the sugar and 1 cup of boiling water
  2. Cut and squeeze the lemons, collecting the juice.
  3. Pour lemon juice into the sugar syrup and stir
  4. Dilute the mixture with 2 cups of cold water
  5. Pour into glasses filled with ice

Ginger Syrup

ginger root (2 pieces, each about 10 inches long peeled)

granulated or caster sugar (weigh the peeled ginger, you need the same weight of sugar)

  • cups of water
  • Peel the ginger root with a vegetable peeler, and cut into thin rounds
  • Weigh the ginger and measure out the same weight in sugar

2. Bring the sugar and water to a boil over medium high heat

3. Add the sliced ginger and bring the mixture back up to a simmer

4. Remove from heat and allow to steep for at least 30 minutes

5. Strain syrup through fine mesh. Discard ginger

6. Keep the syrup for up to a month refrigerated in an airtight container

You can see how we make these cordials on my Youtube channel. Enjoy.


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