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Elderflower fizz (Non-alcoholic)
elderflower, or white flower from the elder tree
 
Elderflower fizz has a subtle floral essence, is sweet tasting refreshing effervescent drink with a tang of lemon. It is simple to make and is ready to drink in a few weeks. The recipe can easily be adapted to make a champagne with the same ingredients with the addition of one ingredient champagne yeast. We will post this separately.
 
*** For the recipe to work, it is critical that the flowers be gathered on a dry sunny day, as these conditions are necessary to preserve the wild yeast that is present on the flowers. ***
 
1 gallon (4.5 litres) water
Rind of 1 lemon & juice
1.5 lbs (700g) raw organic sugar
2 tbsps (30ml) white wine vinegar (apple cider vinegar can be used)
12 head of elderflowers
 
1. Bring the water to the boil. Pour into a sterilised container, add sugar, stirring until dissolved.
 
2. When cool, add the juice and rind of the lemon, vinegar and elderflowers. Cover with several layers of muslin clothe and leave for 24 hours.
 
3. Pour through a sporage bag or muslin clothe into strong glass bottles. Stir out of direct sunlight, at room temperate for two weeks.
 
Don’t be tempted to check for gas formation as this tends to spoil the end result.
Small amounts of alcohol may be present in a soft drink, but the alcohol content must be less than 0.5% of the total volume. if the drink is to be considered non-alcoholic. This will be slightly alcoholic and by definition a non-alcoholic soft drink. Consider this most soft drinks are slightly alcoholic including coca-cola and pepsi, because of fermentation of the sugars.  Effervescent usually means it has dissolved gas or a reaction chemically within the drink forms gas.  As few soft drinks today are fermented, most are artificially gassed through carbonation.  In the fermentation process sugar is digested by yeast and a one of the by products of this process is carbon dioxide.  Few manufactures want their products to continue fermenting, as this would affect its shelf life, risk the product exploding and exceed mandated alcohol content. When you are depending on natural yeast, it can be hit and miss.  You might not get any, get a large amount, or very active yeast and this can affect results.  If stored will continue to ferment and generate more alcohol and gas, therefore it should be consumed after it has sat for two weeks.  If you don’t there is a risk of the bottle exploding.
Thanks to Dave Clarke for this explanation and his experience.
“No need to add yeast you have natural yeasts in the flowers and the sugar feeds the yeast to produce alcohol and the by product is carbon dioxide bubbles (fizz). The citric acid in the lemon juice and the acetic acid in the vinegar helps the fermentation along ad stop nasty bacteria from spoiling the product. The longer the natural fermentation lasts the more pressure you will get in the bottles along with a higher alcohol content and it is advised to release the pressure every couple of days to minimise the chance of them exploding. I make mine in a pressure barrel. If you don’t want alcohol in it you need to reduce the sugar by at least half and drink it within the fortnight suggested in the text to produce it or alternatively store it in a fridge, as the cold will stop the fermentation.”