Monday, April 23, 2007

Make Your Own Champagne!

We at Bliss love champagne and quaff it in vast quantities. Champagne is our favorite tipple, it's so cool, bubbly and refreshing. There's nothing better than a glass of cold bubbly on a warm summers' day in the garden.
It's drunk while doing a spot of light gardening, we're having a glass or two while reading a book, it's imbibed whenever the mood strikes us, because mmmmmmmm utter bliss!

And you haven't heard the best bit yet; it's so easy to make and it won't cost the earth either, so you can afford swilling the stuff like there's no tomorrow.

But enough of waxing lyrically about champagne, I'd best get on with telling you how to make the stuff yourself, so that you can drink it in vast quantities too. You can never have enough champagne, that's one of my motto's, and a good one it is too, even if I do say so myself.

As the Bliss team are firm believers in spreading lots of bliss around, here's the recipe for elderberry flower champagne.


- 6 elderberry flowers (Sambucus nigra)

- 1 lemon
Buy it in a health food store or grow your own like I do. Don't use lemons that have been sprayed with all kinds of unhealthy stuff.

- 1 1/2 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
- 3 litres of water
- 1/2 kilo of sugar

Bring 400 ml of water to the boil, add the sugar and stir until all the sugar is dissolved.
Take it off the heat and let it cool to room temperature.

Wash and squeeze the lemon and cut the peel into pieces.
Put the juice and the peel in a big pot or pan. Add the elderberry flowers, 1 1/2 table spoon of white wine vinegar and 2.6 litres of water and stir. Add the sugar water and stir again.
Put the lid on and wait for 4 days, don't forget to stir every now and again.

After 4 days strain the elderberry flower liquid through a sieve. I always put a bit of muslin in my sieve to catch everything that is not supposed to go into the liquid.
Pour the elderberry flower liquid into clean bottles with a screw top.
Once in the bottle, gas will form, resulting into lots of bubbles. This process takes on average about two weeks. Because explosions can happen, store the bottles somewhere safe and and be sure to check them once a week and release some of the pressure, if necessary . When there's bubbles from top to bottom in the bottle, chill the elderberry flower champagne and as soon as it has the right temperature, drink it. It's non alcoholic so everyone can join in the fun. Be sure to open the bottle above the kitchen sink, champagne eruptions can happen. Cheers!

I'm only a beer teetotaller, not a champagne teetotaller. G. Bernard Shaw


Garden Cats + Crafts said...

Liebe Yolanda, ich staune, was Du alles kannst und weißt. Das werde ich ganz bestimmt einmal nachmachen. Liebe Grüße bei diesem tollen Wetter, Birgit

Anonymous said...

My husband loves elderberry flowers, you can make very good pancakes too, eat with ice cream.

Anita said...

Very interesting! I have sambuca nigra in the garden, too. I should try it this summer, too. ;-))

A wildlife gardener said...

That takes me back to when I was ayoung girl. My mum made wines using elderberries, elderflowers, rhubarb, dandelions, rose-hips and many others. It was a hobby of hers along with jam-making. I must have a go this summer.

OldRoses said...

What a great idea! Beautiful and tasty, I'm sure.

gardenmomma (Chris) said...

I bet it will taste wonderful...and to think you made it. What a wonderful gift that would be!

LostRoses said...

Well, you've outdone yourself, Yolanda! I'm sure it tastes wonderful, but the pictures of making it are treat in themselves. Hmmm, I'm beginning to wish I was your neighbor.

Lilibet said...

Your blog reads like some magical fairytale place! I want to live your life! It sounds so beautiful and so elegant; flower-filled, enhanced by cats and champagne. Magical!

Now that you have me thinking about adopting another fur-baby (cat), should I look for a kitten instead of an adult? When we tried to introduce our current cat to our old cat, both of whom were female adults, the relationship failed. Luckily we were able to find a home with our other cat within the family.

Should I introduce a kitten (as opposed to an adult) to my 10 year old female? If so, which sex? Perhaps cats are happiest as the solo feline of the household? I appreciate your advice.

Anita said...

Hi Yolanda! Guess what, I couldn't believe my eyes when I looked out of the window this morning, it's finally RAINING! Yes! The garden really deserves it, it did not rain for weeks!

Groetjes, Anita

Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

Hi all and a warm welcome to Bliss.

Birgit: the elderberry flower champagne is really easy to make, so give it a try!

Hannele: pancakes with elderberry flowers and ice cream sounds delicious!

Anita: as soon as your elderberry starts flowering, go and make the champagne. It's very easy to do and it tastes wonderful.

WG: how nice that it brought such lovely childhood memories to the fore. Are you also into making wines and jams?

Oldroses: elderberry flower champagne is so delicious and refreshing.

Chris: it tastes wonderful and of course it's very satisfying to look at all those bottles and know that you have made all that stuff yourself. It's also great fun to give a bottle or two away as a present.

Lostroses: thanks for your lovely compliments.

Julia: a male kitten (around 10 to 14 weeks old) would be best (a male is no threat to your girl). Be patient and give both cats access to most, if not all the rooms of your house. Don't force them to be in one room together all the time. Cats need to spend some time on their own to meditate.

Don't be alarmed if your girl hisses and growls at the new kitten and perhaps even boxes his ears. That's normal behaviour, both will need time to adjust. It can take a few days or maybe a month.

The success rate of introducing a kitten to an adult cat is very high. It's not impossible to add an adult cat where there is one already, but it's not easy to do so, as you've found out.

If cats are indoor kitties only, most of them prefer to have a feline friend about the house. Only you can decide if your cat would benefit from the company of another cat. I know that all my cats are happy with the feline company they keep.

Anita: lucky you!!! Here the earth is still bone dry. My garden needs some rain desperately! BTW Has the rhubarb pot arrived yet?

Shirley said...

What a lovely idea - I might just buy the plant to try it! Do the flowers attract bees and butterflies too?

My Dad made Birch wine when I was very young. It is great to hear what you do with your plants - thank-you.

Sorry - we have rain too. The greens in the garden look so fresh.

Anonymous said...

Champers in the garden - maybe you should be nominated for gardener you'd most like as a neighbour!

Tea said...

That sounds wonderful! And what a beautiful garden you have. Kitty is so pretty too :) Glad Julia mentioned your lovely blog to me.


Sigrun said...

Wow, Yolanda, das klingt verführerisch. Ich liebe Holundersirup so sehr, aber Sekt? Einfach klasse.


Anonymous said...

Ben hier met gezwinde spoed heengeklikt: champie mmmm
Hebben we in de herfst net de vlier weggehaald....
B. heeft dit ook eens geprobeerd en de eerste keer was de pan bedekt met een interessante schimmellaag...De 2e poging lukte beter en leverde een leuke siroop op...wèl lekker, maar doe mij maar de bubbeltjes ;-)
Gelukkig groeien hier vlieren in 't wild! 'K ga even met de hond...

En wat een geweldige fotoreportage- met eigen citroen!- kan ook weer zo in Het Blad ;-)

Anonymous said...

Ha! Now THIS is practical gardening.


I love champagne from the little grapes. Can't wait to try this!

Thanks for sharing!


Annie in Austin said...

The idea of Elderberry wine never appealed to me, Yolanda - maybe I saw that old Cary Grant movie, 'Arsenic and Old Lace' too many times!

But Elderberry Champagne sounds delightful to drink, and there is an elegance about the process of making it.

Did you plant the Elderberry when you moved to this house, or was its presence one of the things that attracted you to the property?


Anonymous said...

Champagne indeed, I'll have a glass or more of that. Must be very tasty. I know the elderberry sirup from Ikea, very nice on a hot summer day.
Do you export this elderberry champagne? Could be a hit!!

Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

Welcome all!

Shirl: the flowers attract a lot of pollinators so it's worth planting it for that alone. You don't have to be sorry that you had rain today, I'm glad you did, your garden needed it. ;-)

Birch wine, I've never heard of that one before. Do you have the recipe?

John: well, there's always next years nominations. ;-)

Tea: welcome and glad you liked my blog. Dolly Daisy is as pretty as she is sweet.

Sigrun: the elderberry flower syrup is really nice but the champagne is absolutely delicious. Give it a try and see what you think.

Marleen: ik hoop dat je wandeltocht met hondje voldoende buit heeft opgeleverd om lekkere champie te brouwen. Jammer dat je net vorig jaar de vlieren had weggedaan.

Het Blad; mooie naam voor een magazine, vind je ook niet? ;-)

Hank: glad you like it, go ahead and give it a try, it's so easy to make and you'll enjoy drinking it by the gallon (and no hangovers). ;-)

Annie: Arsenic and Old Lace, I love that movie and understand why Elderberry wine wouldn't appeal at all. :-D But give the champagne a try, it won't poison you. :-)

The Elderberry was already there and it was one of the things that attracted me to the property. It's not for nothing that my eldest cat is called Sam Bucus. :-)

Bert: the elderberry flower syrup from Ikea is very nice but a bit too sweet for me, I prefer the bubbly. Hmmm, running a champagne business, it's a thought! :-D

Wolfgang said...

Danke für Deinen Blogkommentar bei mir. Werde mich mal bei Dir umsehen. Google ist mein Übersetzer.
Viel Grüße

Libbys Blog said...

I eventually got here phew!! Looks like I'm in time for a glass of bubbly or have you all scoffed it?? Definately worth a try, me thinks! Off to find some elderberry flowers......

Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

Hi all,

Wolfgang: welcome to Bliss and I hope you will enjoy it.

Libby: I've scoffed it all. ;-) No I haven't, first I have to bottle it tomorrow and then wait 2 whole weeks before I can finally have a glass of bubbly. Let me know how your bubbly turned out!

Naturegirl said...

Love the look of the elderberry flowers! Love the way you photographed them in the basket! Love the basket! OHH>>>to taste your~ liquid bliss!~hugs NG

kate said...

The elderberry flowers are so pretty ... what a great idea to make champagne from them. It sounds as if it would be a most satisfying drink on a sunny and warm summer's day!

Gotta Garden said...

Okay...sign me up for the book! You are amazing! Wherever did you learn about such?? One never knows what one will learn about here! I have Black Lace and it looks like it will flower this year! Dare I try this?? It's supposed to have pink you think it will make the brew pink??

What fun your garden group must be!

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Similarities to Gluehwein--I just have to find some damn elderberry flowers--not so commonly grown here. I know with the half pound of sugar, it's gonna be good!

*Ulrike* said...

Now that is pretty interesting. I am planing on getting some elderberry bushes/trees this year. I'll have to remember this.

Kira Royal said...

Champagne with elderberry flowers. I love to try a zip. Love Kira

Anonymous said...

How is this non-alcoholic ? Fermentation creates CO2(the bubbles) and alcohol