Spring, Drinks

Elderflower, Lemon & Vanilla Cordial

This summery drink is super-simple, super-delicious, beautifully fragrant, and hugely satisfying to make. It can be used as a cordial, of course, but is also ideal for adding to cocktails, sweetening frosting or yogurt, and even making sorbet.

When foraging for elderflowers, try to harvest them on a sunny day at around noon, as this is when the flowers are at their most fragrant.

Be sure to pick them away from busy roads (to avoid pollution from the traffic) and only take a few heads from each bush – it's important that they get the chance to turn into berries, so the birds can feed on them.

This cordial will keep well for several months in a cool, dark cupboard, for you to reach for whenever you need it.

2 litres


1kg golden or white caster sugar

½-1 vanilla pod, split in half

4 lemons

Around 30 heads of elderflower


  1. Add the sugar and a litre of water to a large pan, and heat gently to dissolve the sugar. Continue to warm for a minute or two, then remove the pan from the heat.
  2. Add ½-1 vanilla pod, depending on how much vanilla flavour you'd like – I added half a pod here.
  3. Using a peeler, remove the zest from all the lemons and add it to the pot. Squeeze in the juice of 2 of the lemons, then slice the remaining 2 lemons and add those to the pot too.
  4. Cut your elderflower heads so the flowers and only a short stem remain. Give them a gentle shake to remove any bugs, then add them to the pot.
  5. Stir the cordial, making sure the elderflowers are covered with the sugar syrup. Cover the pan with a lid and set aside for 24 hours to infuse.
  6. When it's ready, strain the cordial through a fine sieve lined with muslin or kitchen towel into a large bowl, then decant into sterilised bottles to store.

Work with me.

Work with me.

Whether you’re looking for inspiring recipes, food photography, or professional styling, I’m open to hearing about your project. Find about more about working with me, or if you’d like to get in touch I’d love to hear from you.

Mailing list sign-up

Are you feeling passionate about plant-based food? Sign up to the NOURISH newsletter today, and get exclusive access to inspiring recipes, product news, and plant-based tips, delivered straight to your inbox.

Thank you for subscribing!