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Elderflower Champagne Recipe

elderflower champagne

Recipe for Elderflower Champagne sent in by: Granny Dumplin

Ingredients for Elderflower Champagne:

  • 50 elderflower heads  – (if you pick flowers in the morning they should smell slightly of  bananas, if picked in the afternoon/evening there will be an aroma of cats piddle! Both work, but bananas are best)
  • 6 lb bags of caster sugar
  • 11 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
  • 50 pints of cold water
  • 11 large lemons zested and juiced

Method for Elderflower Champagne:

  1. Pick the elderflowers when fully out and shake to remove insects.
  2. Place the flowers in a cloth bag,
  3. Seal it and put it into the water with the sugar, vinegar, juice and zest from the lemons. (use plastic buckets)
  4. Mix well, cover and stand for 72 hours.
  5. Remove bag of flowers & strain into bottles (use screw top bottles) and leave in cool larder for 2 weeks, releasing the fizz every couple of days or the bottles will burst.
  6. Serve very chilled.


Note 1: You can halve all ingredients to make less.

Note 2: To make cordial use some or all of the mixture before bottling and add an equal amount of sugar, boil till reduced by half.

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98 comments on “Elderflower Champagne Recipe
  1. Annabel says:

    Hi I am doing this recipe for the first time today. Went to my local brew shop and spoke to a very helpful man at Hops and Vines in Burford (they have informative website) and he advised me not to use demijohns for champagne (give him a call?) , thought they were not strong enough, best used for wines only. Advised swing top bottes (expensive) or on the cheaper side plastic bottles, which I am using for this first experiment, just need to release the gas if bottle getting distorted. Check out his recipe, think I will give this one a go next! Good luck!

  2. jamie anderson says:

    if you add a litre of boiling water to 8 slices of medium golden brown bread and soak it for two hours then strain the liquid through a muslim clothes and add that to your mix it brings out a lovely caramel taste nice champagne

  3. jamie anderson says:

    toasted bread sorry

  4. Gemma says:

    Hi Mark, you seem to know what you’re aking about..

    Using your method, after leaving the ‘solution’ for ten days, when you bottle it, do you still have to release the pressure or is it then safe to bottle for storage, and how long would you expect it to keep, folowing this method?

    I’ve not made this before!!

  5. Melanie says:

    Hi, What a great site. I picked elderflowers and put them in the freezer. I want to make elderflower champagne but wonder if I have hurt the yeast content of the elderflowers?????? What should I do; please?

  6. Diana Osborne says:

    Hi everybody,

    I have been making elderflower champagne (NON ALCOHOLIC) for nearly 30 years. Last year I kept four litres for Christmas and it was fine after 6 months.

    Use plastic fizzy drinks bottles (to stop exploding glass bottles which I remember happening sometimes in the corner cupboard where my mum kept it).

    1. Pick the flowers in the morning with the sun on them.
    2. One gallon (eight pints) of warm water
    3. Add juice and zest of one lemon
    4. One and a quarter pounds of sugar
    5. 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
    6. Snip off the flowers from 6/7 heads
    7. Cover and leave for 24 hours
    8. Bottle with muslin and funnell

    Ready in two weeks. Dont keep fiddling with the top to see if its getting fizzy – just leave it!

    Make sure everything is clean as can be. Dont put the heads in the freezer! Once you have got the flowers it takes about 5 mins to do. Easy peasy! Enjoy.

    Remember, (I thought my mum made champagne all summer) the flowers last for just one month (June) so dont miss out or you will have to wait till next year!

    PS Can use 2tsp of citric acid instead of white wine vinegar which you can get from the chemist.

  7. Ally says:

    Hi All, can anyone help please? Have made 30 ltrs of champagne this year to a recipe which was successful 2 years ago, but this year after keeping for 2 weeks it is really thick and gloopy with a little fizz. It looks revolting, quite white and too thick to drink. What’s wrong?

  8. Charlie says:

    I have always put my flower heads in attached to an inch or two of stalk and have been fine and tasted no different.

  9. BILLY BOB says:

    I have been told Grolsch bottles are good to use.

  10. Carol says:

    I made Elderflower cordial last year for the first time – I was very pleased with the results. I still have some in the freezer (ice cubes)
    This year I made Elderflower Champagne – its now sitting in bottles BUT mine is sooooooooo fizzy I can’t even screw the tops on bottles not even for an hour – so I just left the tops “sitting” on the bottles – the first few days all 20 bottles had “jumping” tops – it was rather amusing.
    I now have cling film over the bottle which bulges although the (carbon dioxide?) escapes all by it self!
    I hope I can screw the tops on soon and store away!

    I filtered mine twice but I do have a whitish residue in the bottom of the bottles – it smells great however the colour reminds me of pale old fashioned lemonade! Not totally clear as I now gather it should be according to this site.
    I read crushed egg shells will clear it – so will try that!!!!
    Good Luck every body

  11. dave tiddy says:

    I am certain that the gunk is a mix of pollen and yeast…..If you can pour it off the yeast, great…….if not ….so what….It won’t do any harm.but it will make your drink taste a bit yeasty and spoil the look/clarity…The presence of bubbles means that fermentation has taken place, so all should be well…..but you may try putting a bottle in the fridge, and then open it the next day taking care to leave the sediment behind…..if the stuff is still floating around, can you pour it through a fine sieve?…..if not, do what they did in olden times and drink it from a pewter tankard so you can’t see the sediment!!!!

  12. aimee says:

    Hello, I don’t know if this will be of any help, but if fruit flies get into the brew before bottling, they ruin the wine and make it taste vinegary. I don’t know how well your bucket was covered before decanting…
    Having said that I just tried a sip of my friend’s elderflower champagne and there was a hint of vinegar about it, which was just the alcohol, so maybe that’s how it is supposed to taste! If you don’t like it, elderflower cordial is much easier to make, you can drink it immediately and it tastes lovely with soda!
    My elderflower champagne has gone gooey which is rather off-putting.

  13. helen says:

    hi, just bottled up my elderflower champagne but now a little concerned that i just put the heads of the elderflowers into the bucket still on the stems, did not snip off any flowers just put them in attached to the large heads.

    now concerned that i could possibly make my family ill with this. Would this happen? could anyone reassure me that all that work was not in vain.


  14. Hannah says:

    Hello, I can’t find an answer on here to a question somebody asked about the ‘eggy’ smell when the bottles fizz on opening. Mine is cloudy, only mildly fizzy at the moment (after about one month in the bottles) but tastes nice, it’s just that initial smell I am uneasy about. Can I still drink it?

  15. Jagger says:

    I’ve been making elderflower champagne for years and have never had to unscrew the cap to release the pressure. I leave it for 24 hours in the bucket then pour into bottles (it’s not had time to start foaming). I store the bottles upside down. To make an upside down bottle stand, I cut the bottoms off some similar bottles so they are approx 100mm high then just rest the top of the champagne bottles in them (I also keep them in the bucket with a bag over them just to be on the safe side). Although the brown sediment is harmless, it does give a bit of an aftertaste which I’m not keen on. So I nearly always remove it (usually after a year when the gas has reduced a bit). Be gentle with the bottle so you don’t disturb the sediment then hold the bottle in a clear and loose polythene bag, in a bucket, still upside down and outside. Carefully unscrew the top a little (not all the way) so that some of the liquid starts to squirt out. Once your squirting, turn it upright and quickly remove the cap. You can re-cap with a new cap or just clean up the old one. I’ve found the champagne tastes best after 1 year. Also, I’ve noticed no difference to the taste by gathering the flowers in the morning, afternoon or evening. I just pick the ones that are white with yellow pollen on and that smell nice. Know how many you need, be selective in your choices, then there’s no need to strip a bush bare. Remove bugs by holding the heads in a bowl under water for a few minutes. Then give the flower a little twist under the water (like you did last summer), and the bugs will float off. You’ll lose a bit of flavour because of the time under water but then that’s why I use 12 flower heads to make up for the loss. I try to use as little stalk as possible but a few do go in. I don’t think it alters the taste too much though if you include the stalk. I sterilise cheap supermarket 2 litre plastic fizzy water bottles with sterilising fluid that is used for babies’ bottles. I give them a good rinse afterwards so the sterilising fluid doesn’t kill the flavours. I use;
    9 Litres cold water
    1 Litre hot water
    1kg Sugar
    12 Elderflower heads (occasionally a few more)
    2 Lemons (zest, juice and flesh)
    4 Tablespoons of white wine vinegar.
    1. Boil the 1 litre of water in a bowl and stir in the sugar until it is all disolved (hot water simply dissolves the sugar quicker. You could boil more than 1 litre to dissolve the sugar even quicker but it will take longer to cool later on). Let it cool (if you add the other ingredients to hot water, then it will slightly cook them and you’ll lose flavour).
    2. Pour the (now cooled) sugar/water into a bucket. Then add the remaining 9 litres of cold water. Add all the other ingredients and give a gentle stir. Leave 24 hours and then bottle into 5 two litre bottles. If you can leave it over a year before drinking, then it will be less sweet.

  16. Liam says:

    Forgive me for asking, but what constitutes as an Elderflower ‘Head’?

  17. Mags says:

    Much easier than I imagined. I will certainly be making this one very soon.

  18. linda cochrane says:

    Hi, The same thing happened to me. I made successful batches of elderflower champagne using th bbc good food recipe. Last year and this year it has gone milky white and gloopy, it has produced a little fizz but not a drinkable consistency. Any ideas what`s happening or how to overcome ?

  19. Bill says:

    I make quite a lot of elderflower champage.. but one of my recent attempts has not worked out, the bottles are full of a gloopy, thick off white slightly sparkling sort of syrup.

    I think I made it the same way as usual, I make about 8 litres water with a kilo of sugar, 4 tbsp white wine vinegar, juice and rind of 2 lemons so very simple

    Any ideas???

    Sorry I should have studied the trail of comments more closely, see Im not the only one

  20. Denise says:

    @Mel: HI Mel,

    I was looking on here for everyones comments before i start making my elderflower champagne, my grandma used to make it in old whites lemonade bottles which were glass with really strong screw tops. i couldn’t find anything similar so i have bought some large grolsh type bottles from ikea which were about £1 each i think (i got them last year and my memories not great). I’m hoping they’ll do the job and they’ll be reusable. Good Luck !

  21. Natalia says:

    Hi, I just read over these comment/quiries & have a few useful suggestions.
    I made my Elderflower Shampagne with 25 large flower heads, 2lb 3oz/1KG white granulated sugar, 4 Tablespoons white vinegar, 3 Lemons, 2 Gallons/10litres an a bit of water, I boiled about half of this added the sugar, stirred till it had dissolved, and made the rest up with cold water. This left it luke warm, which is a good environment for the yeast, also helps th flavors relax in the liquid, once you’ve added the rest of the ingredients. I steeped & stirred accasionallly over 24hrs only, as, I had put it into lluke warm water so the yeast would be more active in the warmer environment, so if left any longer I would probably loose gas/fizz/carbon, so bottle bottle bottle. I also tasted while it was steeping. I found mine ok, so I didnt re-adjust the recipe before bottling, but you could add more lemon/sugar at this point. when I bottled my shampagne I used plastic litre bottles, these are perfect, I so prefer using plastic rather than glass, I’v got a bit of a fear of bein next to a glass bottle that explodes!! PLASTIC ALLOWS YOU TO SQUEEZE SOME OF TH BOTTLE INWARDS, if you do this there is room for carbon & as it carbonates & you can see how fizzy its gettin as the volume will increase inside/the bottle will be pushed outwards where you squeezed it!!
    Elderflowers picked should be picked before noon, they give a better flavor & they should smell of bananas, if picked after noon, they will have th aroma of cats wee, its not so detrimental, you will just have a better flavor if picked before noon.
    If picking later in the season avoid too many brown flowers, you wont have this problem if picking early, just make sure they’r in full bloom & elderflowers with be most aromatic on a sunny day!! Elderflowers picked near the road side could hold less wild yeast as the toxic fumes kill the wild yeast. Yeast is important for th fermenting process & I might as well add that sugar is yeast food, alcohol is yeasts waste, so the more you feed your yeast the more waste/alcohol will be produced, but always follow a recipe, dont be left with a sickly sweet drink, just keep that in mind! Lastly when picking elderflowers you can see which are the best most healthy flowers not only by the bloom, but by lookin at the stem of the flowers too, they should be a healthy light green colour, if they are turning (off) then they will have red or brown vein effect along the stems that runs frm the flowers. Always remember that boiling water will kill yeast, dont forget to sterilse bottles an containers, mold on the outside wont be a problem, to avoid mould in your shampagne strain well, if there is minimal mould I would have thought it will be ok as the champagne will contain alcohol, and alcohol has sterilising qualities. don’t forget washing flower head is BAD as you’re washing off natural yeast, when shaking, you’re aiming to remove any larger bugs, thunders fly an such will easily be strained out along with the flowers, you don’t want to shake of the flavor from pollen, only remove the bugs that are large enough to harm th flavor.
    Hope this ESSAY helps,

  22. saff says:

    Making Elderflower Champagne for the first time and a little confused…
    I’m sorry if this is obvious to everyone else but I just wanted to make sure,
    I’m using glass wine bottles, corks and wire champagne cages. Noticed most people using screw tops so can let air out, wondering if this means I don’t have to do this or what I do have to do to stop explosions?
    Plus has anyone treed leaving it in a bucket for 10 days instead of hughs 6 or so days?
    cheers for any advice

  23. Dave says:

    If you use boiling water you kill the wild yeast that will ferment the sugar into alcohol. If you use this method you would need to add dried yeast after the water has cooled to start fermentation. There should be no need to use this method as the pH of champagne, wine and beer is that acidic no pathogenic bacteria can survive (it would not make you ill). Any bacteria to survive are acetobacter (acetic acid, vingegar) or lactobacillus (lactic acid) and though taste awful are not harmful, good look, dave

  24. Marcia Machin says:

    Hi Mark I appreciate your very useful remarks. I wonder if you can help with this one.. About 3/4 weeks ago I made a batch of Elderflower champagne ready for my daughter’s wedding in 2 weeks’ time. After about 72 hours of fermenting in the bin, we bottled into screw top wine bottles – releasing gases every other day. BUT whoops – we had a couple of burst bottles. So, having sourced some Champagne and Grolsh bottles, we transferred everything into these and corked with plastic champagne corks and wire cages, thinking that would be safe now…..BUT a couple days ago, one of the Grolsh bottles burst majorly, exploding glass and top across the garden like a gunshot!! As you can imagine, having covered all 20 bottles with a couple of duvets and heavy stones, we are somewhat loathe to get near enough to test!!! And as to the Wedding celebratory drink – I think the risk of injury or “Death”(!!) is a bit too high.
    DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING TO SUGGEST? It is now about 5 days since the Grolsh bottle explosion and there have been no more explosions since.
    Once the Eldeflower season has passed, will the action calm down?

  25. Carol says:

    I have made my first batch of elderflower champers, I bottled it after 24 hrs and it has been left for 2 weeks, when I tried it the taste was lovely but it is very thick ‘gloopy’ can anyone tell me what I have done wrong? or how to remedy it? I thought of spliting the bottles down and topping them up to see if that worked??
    Many thanks

  26. Carol says:

    I have been making Elderflower Cordial for a few years now. I have had quite a few bottle produce yellow sediment, I have always thought it was down to the amount of pollen on the flowers. I always invert the bottle before drinking to help with Hay fever. I am still here and haven’t had bad hay fever for a while now. If I have any mould grow, I just refilter the bottle. Will go out picking flowers today to make some Champagne. Mark is making good sense right now so will follow his instructions for making Champagne.

  27. Kenny says:

    @Diana Osborne:

    Hi Diana,

    think I’ll take your advice and add the citric acid. Can’t see how this recipe can be non-alcoholic. Surely there must be some alcohol produced here.

  28. pat says:

    @michael: Yes, those .75 litre wire top bottles are good for the job,I have found the wire caps are not as strong as Grolsch caps so when the pressure builds it leaks out

  29. pat says:

    the clear wire cap bottles available work well because they are not as strong as Grolsch bottles so when pressure builds it can ‘leak’ out yet when you open them after 6 months or so there is just the right ammount of fizz.

  30. catherine says:

    @GARY: hi , I made my elderflower champagne using the River Cottage Recipe but 3 days later there is still no fizz and it is thick (like syrup). What can I do now or should I just give up?

  31. Barb says:

    I want to pick some elderflowers today after they dry out and the sun shines on them a bit. They are huge and beautiful on the first of my planted bushes, in the most sunny part of my garden. There are more coming later but still I do not wish to harm the future berries. Can I just shake them on a sheet or somthing and not pick the stems off the bush? Has anyone done this and thus saved the bounty for fruit? Or does it not work for whatever reason?
    Thank in advance.

  32. sophie Pratt says:

    I made 1/2 quantity of this recipe and it is absolutely lovely! I have put half in plastic bottles and the other half in a demi john with air trap as suggested by someone here- seems to be working ok. Not sure about alcohol content but it is really fresh, bubbly and delicious! I will definitely use this method again.

  33. John Phillips says:

    Hi- I’ve been brewing for many years… elderflower and elderberry wine as well as lots of other ‘country’ recipes. Having recently retired I thought I’d revert to making some elderflower champagne I made years ago. Lots of good advice on your website but so confusing! The point about country brews- and beer etc- is to KEEP IT SIMPLE. Enjoy what you’re doing. Basically you want to take some florets and allow them to mildly ferment. If making elderflower champagne you’re not aiming for high alcoholic content… what’s the point? You only need:
    Clean equipment
    Tepid water
    Any type of sugar- white, brown, brewing… whatever
    Possibly some dried yeast- any sort of wine yeast will do… what’s all this about champagne yeast… only add a bit if natural fermentation doesn’t start.
    Put flowers/florets in a muslin bag and squeeze out daily whilst in liquid… saves lots of straining
    Taste a spoonful, daily, as you stir/squeeze….. obviously it’ll still be a bit sugary but you’ll know whether you want to let it stand for 24/36/72 hours or whatever.
    Avoid glass bottles… they’re good for wines when you want to show off- yes, I do that as well- but you’re making a simple, ‘country, brew for home consumption.
    If it’s fizzy you can let out a bit of gas, or not, as the case may be. If a plastic bottle leaks/explodes/becomes deformed not harm’s done. Go with the flow.
    Finally, you’ve made it. It won’t poison you. Enjoy it whether it’s cloudy/clear or has some ‘gunk’ in the bottom.
    p.s. one of you contributers suggested some rose petals added. GREAT!! if you want a real treat try making rose petal wine… lots of recipes on the web.

  34. debs says:

    I made some elderflower champagne 2 years ago so… summer 09 I guess. I left a bottle in the shed and just found it this morning! 🙂 I don’t know how it didn’t smash in the freezing winters but hey I see this as a sign that it’s ok to drink! It’s fate!
    Anyway, there were some yellowy yeast sediments in the bottom so I have re-strained it and put it in a clean bottle I had a little taste and its not that fizzy but still slightly sparkling, smells lovely and tastes good. Although a little acidic, so I put a few teaspoons of sugar in to adjust the sweetness, I think this will probably make it fizzier as well? So I’m thinking that after all this time (re-fermenting every year- if that is true I don’t know, but I’ve heard it said) will it have a measurable alcohol content? I’m hoping yes, as then I feel like there wont be any nasties in there.
    Any thoughts?

  35. debi mordanti says:

    The yellow ‘gunky’ stuff at the bottom is just sediment, totally fine to consume in Elderflower champagne. I make around 70 litres every year and it is fine, it isn’t like sediment in beers etc. I have also picked from fields and road side with no difference to the end result, hot water like said above to sterilize but also to dissolve the large amount of sugar. Just put the flower heads straight into the solution. I leave for 2-3 days and then strain and put into bottles, with perfect results. Do make sure you don’t put too many flower heads in as they have a high amount of natural yeast in them and can make the champagne taste yuk (a lesson learnt a few years ago, I thought in my inexperience that it would make it taste more flowery, trust me it didn’t, it was yuk.

  36. websie says:

    Hi, I made some according to HFW recipe but, as there were no bubbles or foam on the top of the bucket I added a bit of bread yeast. I left it in the bucket for another 4 days and bottled it in fizzy drinks bottles, adding 1 teaspn of sugar to each bottle. I “burp” the bottles twice a day. I am very worried they will explode, they are very very fizzy, I did try a little of one and it just wants to make me burp all the time, tasted not v sweet at all. Should I start again or should i just keep burping the bottles or even leave the bottle tops loose so that the air can escape?

  37. Lucy says:

    What’s the consensus on mould on the top? My Elderflower champagne has been in the bucket about a week and has blue mould! Do I throw it out or skim mould off?

  38. Tom says:


    Hi Mark I have followed Hugh’s recipe. I bottled my champagne last night in glass bottles. They seem to be very cloudy and there is a quite a bit, of what looks like yeast forming at the bottom an on the neck. Is this anything to worry about? Should I remove it from the bottle and pass it through muslin?

    Many thanks Tom

  39. Sandie says:

    After a week not only have I got fruit flies but white and blue mould. I am not in a mind to trust it now, but better luck next time so I wont give up.

  40. emma says:

    An eggy smell is hydrogen sulphide which is caused when the yeast become stressed from lack of nutrients. If you open your bottle and let it sit for half an hour hopefully the hydrogen sulphide will ‘blow off’ so long as it is not there in too great a concentration.

  41. Jared says:

    I’m trying to make some elderflower drink (non-alcoholic), and my recipe calls for elderflowers OR elderflower liqueur/cordial. Since I don’t have elderflowers available right now, does anyone know how much cordial I need to use to equal “24 elderflower heads”? And am I then supposed to reduce the amount of water I put in?

    Any help/resources would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks in advance!

  42. Tina says:

    Hi, I have strained my elderflower champagne into a fermenting jar with a trap, bubbled the first day and having sat in front of my airing cupboard where it is living, have noticed after a 5 min period no bubbling. The liquid was fizzing away in the bucket before straining off. The mixture has added champagne yeast and yeast nutrient added to it. What’s gone wrong? Can I add some more yeast to kick start it again? Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks, Tina

  43. Jane says:

    @Mark: I think you are wrong on this. There is no need to add any yeast as the natural yeast on the flower heads producers the fermentation.

    I have been making elderflower champagne for years and never use added yeast. I have some bottles going back to 2011 – I opened one just the other night and it was gorgeous.

    I have never had an explosive bottle and I only ever release the cap on a bottle or two to check that it is beginning to get fizzy. I keep mine in a cool garage find that works perfectly.

    Also I don’t use hot water as that seems to burn the flowers and I don’t keep the champagne in a bucket for any more than 36 hours. The fermentation happens in the bottle.

  44. Caroline says:

    I made some elderflower cordial last year, sterilised the bottles and used citric acid as preservative. They tasted really good and had many great feedbacks. Nonetheless, they all went fizzy after 2 weeks and some bottles exploded. Gosh! They also had that fermented smell which is not as nice as that fresh sweet scent.

    I am thinking to make them again this year. Besides freezing them, is there any method I can used to make them last longer and SAFER without adding other preservative like campden tablets? I prefer to keep them as natural as possible. Would adding more sugar or citric acid help? I am currently testing a batch I made from frozen flowers. So far, 1 week later, still no fizz…seems a shame to freeze perfectly fresh scented flowers..

    Thanks. Caroline

  45. Christine says:

    Hi all. I’ve been thinking about making some elderflower champagne for my wedding next year, but have seen everyone’s conflicting messages and am a little confused now?!?If I make some this summer, and bottle it in plastic or glass swing top bottles, will they keep for a year or would you need to drink them sooner? Is it a lot of guess work with whether you add yeast/let some gas out/leave them completely? I’m a total novice so would appreciate the advice! Thanks.

  46. Tessa says:

    Like Tom I have left mine to ferment for 6 days (following River Cottage recipe. No added yeast as there was lots of pollen on the elderflower heads), it’s certainly bubbly but has got white mold on top (which disperses into little white dots when stirred and I am sure would be strained out). It smells good. I’ve never had this before. Is it safe to bottle and drink? Thanks for the advice.

  47. David says:

    This year my children decided to make elderflower cordial, the recipe we had they picked so many we had loads left over, after bottling 2 gallons of cordial I saved a gallon and am fermenting it for either elderflower champagne or wine, I have diluted it to 5 gallons but I have experimented by adding a good hand full of juniper berries, smells amazing so far but the airlock in the fermenting bucket is dancing away constantly. I have used brewing sugar / dextrose and SN9 yeast ie the proper champagne stuff so fingers crossed. I am puzzled by the vinegar what function does it serve ???

  48. Erica says:

    Have made elderflower champagne, bottled it but it has white cloudy stuff floating in bottles, is this ok or is it ruined, also what’s the best cloth for straining .

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