Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Calling All Moonshiners!

For several weeks I have been eagerly watching a shrub in the field behind my garden, waiting for its flower buds to swell and burst open, not for horticultural appreciation and not for floral display, nor am I waiting to press them in leather bound volumes of classic literature. These buds hold the secret to an elegant summer afternoon spent relaxing even in the midst of austere times with a champagne flute in hand, for these are the buds of the Elderflower.

Flowering begins in late May to early June and that means I can try out a new recipe that I've been holding onto for Elderflower Champagne. Just to make things a little more exciting, the unpredictable Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall Recipe I will be using has a reputation for going bang!

Now, my favourite summer soft drink happens to come in the perfect thick glass bottle in which to store my elderflower champagne. ‘La Mortuacienne’ is the most delightful fizzy pop dubbed the Queen of Lemonades in France. They have been making a variety of flavoured syrups and carbonated drinks since 1921 that have a swing top stopper which makes it easier to release the gas pressure as the champagne ferments.


So as I gather my ingredients and post my progress I encourage you to join me in a champagne making extravaganza so we may sit back on lawns and compare libations. Lets make Elderflower shampoo!

17 comments:

  1. Pretty bottles! Is this the same as the Elderberry plant? I believe it is in blossom all along our roadsides and fields right now. I'll be interested in how you make this beverage. Pamela

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    1. Dear Pamela,
      Yes I do believe elderflowers become elderberries from which you can also make wine and jams and allsorts.
      I will be trialling Hugh's recipe(see link above)and posting updates.
      There are lots of variations online including soft cordials which are delicious, super quick and easy to make.
      If you give it a try let us know how you get on.
      Paul

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  2. Dear Paul,
    'coincidences? Well, it might only be the spring season with beloved elderflowers: just today we were talking about elderflower sirup in champagne, sitting in front of the beautiful castle "Sans-Souci". Champagne with elderflower surely will drive any souci away - I believe that after a sip or two - of your special 'shampoo' - we will see the moonlight too :-)

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  3. Dear Britta
    Sans Souci looks wonderful. I do hope we get to hear and see more about it, I quickly looked it up online but want to experience it through your eyes.
    I do hope the shampoo drives away any souci for the moonlight makes me blush!
    Paul :)

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    1. "The Knack ... And How To Get It" - tell a woman that you blush :)

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  4. Hi Paul: Now I like this foraging much better than the weeds! Sounds lovely, the art of sipping Elderberry Champagne. I remember the elderberry bushes growing along side the road to my grandmother's house but don't recall anyone ever doing anything with them. Sounds such a pity..Happy Tuesday..Judy

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  5. Darling, I'm following right along with you. Wouldn't miss a thing. xx's

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  6. Dear Paul - I make Elderflower cordial every year, I will watch to see how the elderflower champagne differs.

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  7. Hello Paul:
    Delicious and so very much the taste of summer. And whilst we have never attempted to make Elderflower cordial ourselves, but then we do not even try to boil an egg, we have on occasion tasted that made by others and we should always pronounce it absolutely wonderful. But it does need to be sipped on those well manicured lawns, such as are to be found in any Henry James' novel.

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  8. Dear Jane and Lance,
    With that in mind I shall make sure that the lawn is mown, striped and beautifully manicured before serving.

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  9. we make our moonshine out of corn...yours is much "prettier" and ours is lethal...so I stick to Coors...I will pass your blog onto our local moonshiner...I know right where his still is

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  10. I'd love to try it Paul...............make it, taste it, sip it on a warm Summer night on the front porch as I watch the huge white moonflowers open. Don't you love those bottles - I recall the weekly lorry that would come around our Devon housing estate in the '50's (yes, I really am that old!) selling fizzy pop in those same bottles with the attached cap - they really kept the fizz in well!

    I'm off to the land of 'bush tea' and great South African wines next week - no elderberry but lots of fabulous drinks such as Amarula sipped around the fire pit.

    May not be able to comment for a few weeks while in the bush - but will be back end of June, bar any unforeseen wildlife encounters!!!!!
    Take care - Mary

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    1. Mary have a wonderful time in SA. Who needs Elderflower champagne when you'll be surrounded by all those fabulous SA wines. Just you mind those hyenas and hippopotomuseseses!

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  11. Hey Paul - Now I want an Elderflower shrub, too! I feel so left out. Everyone else is making their own goodies. Think I'll go out and pinch some mints for an afternoon mojito!! L

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    1. Hi Loi. Are there really no elderflowers nearby?
      If not you could make a homemade alcoholic ginger beer or a rhubarb champagne perhaps, all is not lost you can still be a moonshiner too!
      Paul

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  12. I LOVE elderflower liquor and flavoring and my fave is having it with champagne too!

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  13. If I was there -- Id share a drink right with you! But doubt if I could walk after that!! Good luck with the making-- cant wait to see how this all turns out. We have elderberry bushes along the banks near the creek where I live-
    Vicki

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