Thursday, August 6, 2009

Boy Scout Champagne

Also known as Elderblow Fizz and Elderflower Cordial, this lightly fermented summer drink has all but been forgotten. I find the slightly floral taste to be refreshing, if not quite adictive.

3 quarts water
2 cups sugar
juice and zest of 2 lemons
8 elderblow clusters

Harvest the clusters of elderberry flowers at their most fragrant, and shake out any nectar-loving insects. Over low heat in a soup pot, stir the sugar in the water until dissolved. Allow the liquid to cool, then add the lemon juice, zest, and blossoms. Put a cover on the pot and allow it to sit in the sun for a day or two. This should encourage naturally occurring yeasts to begin the fermentation. Strain through a colander lined with cheesecloth, then fill sturdy glass or plastic soda bottles through a funnel. Insert cotton balls into the tops to allow carbon dioxide to escape as the contents bubble vigorously. When the fermentation slows, seal tightly for a day or so to carbonate the drink and refrigerate. But don't wait long. The contents are best enjoyed fresh. Unlike a full-bodied Barolo, the vintage of Boy Scout champagne should be given in days, not years.

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