My elderflower champagne has not turned out like Grandma’s...
I’d left it to ferment in its bucket for a four days, as instructed by the River Cottage recipe. When, after this time, there didn’t seem to be a lot of fermenting action happening, I did as they suggested and added a pinch of yeast. I gave it another few days before straining and bottling.
Grandma used to use plastic bottles. Carefully washed and saved in the cellar after the Schweppes Bitter Lemon or Rose’s Lime Cordial had all been drunk. Sometimes there was so much gas from the fermentation process that the dints on the bottom would be pushed out and strange noises emerge from the cellar as the bottles fell over.
I used plastic too. They’re not as pretty as glass but they expand and I’d rather have ugly bottles in my kitchen than shattered glass.
I’m glad I did because that stuff went nuts. After I filled the bottles I put them in a cupboard and though I could forget about them for a few weeks. Yesterday I noticed that the cupboard door was ajar and had a little peek. They had expanded so much they’d nudged it open!
All six were totally rigid with gas and looking alarmingly bulbous so I let off the pressure in each and had a little glass to check the taste. Well... It is fairly pleasant and refreshing but less sweet than Grandma’s concoction and definitely boozier. No doubt due to the yeast.
There are still some elderflowers out there though so I might give it another go. Or maybe it's safer to stick to cordial...