Well hello there. I hope you're all staying safe and well wherever you may be in the world. I'm sure you've all been busy experimenting during these strange times that we've all been cooped up inside. I have spent far too much money on various bits and pieces for future project (exciting things happening so stay tuned!) But for now, let's get onto the good stuff because I know how much people hate having to scroll through pages and pages of life stories to get to the recipe!

Unfortunately, I made this towards the end of the elderflower season, so if you want to recreate this, you will have to wait until next years harvest! In the meantime though, you could always experiment with other flavours and fruits. I might try making a blackberry wine once they're in season.

You will need:

Fermentation vessel (with airlock)
5 litres water
8 -10 elderflower florets (unwashed)
Juice & zest of 4 lemons
850g granulated sugar
3g yeast nutrient
5g Champagne yeast
Fermentation grade bottles for storage

In your chosen fermentation vessel, add 2 litres of boiled water (I used water from the kettle) to your sugar and stir to dissolve. Once fully incorporated, top up the water and sugar mixture with 3 litres of cold water and allow to cool completely.
Next, you will want to aerate your solution to get as much oxygen into it as you can. This can be done by whisking it or by high pouring it from one container to another a few times. Once that is done, add the elderflower florets, lemon zest, lemon juice, and yeast nutrient.
The next step is to add your yeast. (The reason I say not to wash your elderflower heads is because you would be washing off all the wild yeast that has accumulated within the florets. If you're worried about the cleanliness of this, then you should pick the elderflower florets as high off the ground as you can. If you are also worried about bugs and creepy crawlies then you can gently bash the florets to release any unwanted guests Otherwise, when you add the florets to the solution, the bugs will float to the surface and they can be easily taken out. So don't panic!)
Once everything is thoroughly mixed, add the lid to your fermentation vessel and make sure it is airtight and got a secure airlock. You can also use a large Kilner jug but PLEASE make sure that it is fermentation grade - otherwise the jug can shatter under the pressure inside. If you are using a vessel without an airlock, be sure to regularly burp your wine.
Leave the mixture for 6 days to ferment. You should start to notice a bit of activity after the 2nd day.
After 6 days, strain the sparkling wine through boiled muslin or a fine cheese cloth and discard the remains - it should smell quite yeasty and have some fizz to it already!
Pour the strained liquid back into the now cleaned and sterilised fermentation bucket and leave for a few hours to allow the sediment to drop to the bottom. Bare in mind that the liquid won't be clear at this stage.
You will next need to pour the sparkling wine into the fermentation grade bottles and store again for up to a week.
After a week you may check on the wine. It should be ok to drink at this stage but you might want to give it a bit longer as well (taste it and see). The longer you leave it the more clear the champagne becomes. Be careful when opening the bottles as they may explode open (like one of mine did!)
If you are happy with the taste, you can put the bottles in the fridge which cools them down and stops the fermentation process.
The champagne doesn't last forever so be sure to drink it fairly quickly. This recipe creates quite a dry tasting sparkling wine. I know you can't technically call it Champagne for multiple reasons, but I like to anyway as it looks, acts, and tastes like champagne in the end.

If you happen to make it, I'd love to hear how it went. And remember to stay safe. I know a lot of things are opening back up but be smart and we'll all pull through this together! Thanks again to all the key workers that have kept the world turning.