Elderflower champagne is really easy to make, delicious to drink and makes some fantastic summer cocktails.
In Bedford there are loads of elder trees, down by the park and along the river bank. The tiny flowers of the elder tree are covered in a natural yeast and when combined with sugar and water they will ferment creating a botanically brewed champagne.
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Dissolve the sugar in the hot water, then add the remaining cold water. Add the vinegar, lemon and elderflowers to the water in the bucket and stir gently before covering with muslin. Leave in a cool dry place for a 3 days. On the third day lift the muslin you should see the mixture fermenting with tiny bubbles. If not you can always aid the process by adding some brewing yeast (I have not had to do this yet). Leave for a further 4 days to carry on fermenting.
So after a week in total your elderflower champagne should be ready for bottling. Make sure your bottles are sterilized beforehand and then using a boiled clean muslin strain the liquid into the bottles.
Seal the bottles and leave to carry on fermenting in the bottles for at least another week. Even though the flower heads have been removed the mixture will carry on producing carbon dioxide. To avoid potentially exploding bottles I gently ease the top open of the bottles every few days to release the pressure. That is why it's best to use Grolsch top bottles. Screw bottles will be fine as long as you release the gas every so often.
After a week the champagne is ready for drinking, you can leave it a few more weeks to carry on fermenting more if you want to. However as soon as you put the bottles in the fridge the cold will kill the yeast and stop the fermenting process.