Sunday, 14 April 2013

Beltane Elderflower Champagne

Beltane Elderflower Champagne

A gorgeous drink to make to celebrate Beltane or Beltain is this wonderful elderflower champagne.  At Beltane the countryside is filled with gorgeous Elderflower blooms and this is a fabulous drink to celebrate the beginning of summer on the Pagan Wheel of the year. Beltane Elderflower champagne is similar to lemonade but with a beautiful floral taste, and is mildly alcoholic (about 1.5% alcohol by volume)
The Elderflower can be seen growing in abundance around Beltane. The Elder tree tends to be more of a shrub than a tree, with pinnate leaves with serrate edges. The flowers form in wide, flat clusters, and are creamy white in appearance, with five petals to each flower and a grape like fragrance.
The Elder is said to be sacred to the Mother Goddess and is sometimes named the Elder Mother, or Queen of the Trees. The Elder tree is a tree of protection and has fabulous healing properties. An infusion of the flowers can be used to treat cold, influenza, chills, early stages of fevers as well as problems such as catarrh, sinusitis, and tonsillitis
The Elder tree is also known for it’s strength in renewal and re-generation. It is therefore a wonderful tree to celebrate at Beltane when the earth is transforming and the world is waking up and springing to life. Elder can be used to relieve stuck, congested emotional states and to allow the spirit to move up and outward freely, gladdening the heart.  As a flower essence Elder can be wonderful at promoting strength and increasing self-esteem. 
The wood of the Elder is often used to make magic wands, and the twigs can be woven into a headdress at Beltane if you want to see spirits. It is also said that in order to see fairies, bathe your eyes under a full moon with the dew collected from elder flowers. The Elder tree is sacred to the Goddess Venus and thus is helpful in all matters of love as well as healing and protection.

The ingredients you will need for your Beltane Elderflower Champagne are:
8 litres water
1.25 kg sugar
8 large elderflower heads
4 lemons
4 tablespoons mild white wine vinegar
To begin with you will need to go and pick your Elderflower blossoms. Be sure to thank the tree for giving you it’s flowers. If you are able to, then pick a nice sunny day to pick your elderflowers. As you do so give thanks to the sun for the warmth and light it provides.  Be sure to thank the nature spirits dwelling within the Elder bushes for their delightful gift to you.
Now boil the water and dissolve the sugar into it. When the water is cool, add the elderflowers, juice of two of the lemons and slices of the other two, plus the vinegar. Be sure to rinse the elderflowers before using them.
Now you just need to cover with a clean cloth and leave for a day.
Once you have let your Elderflower Champagne for a day it is time to strain and bottle it.  The best way to do this is to strain your Beltane champagne through a fine sieve or piece of muslin, carefully squeezing the flowers to extract as much flavour as you can. A sieve is fine if you don’t mind a few petals in your Elderflower Champagne
Now decant your drink into the bottles you are going to keep it in. Store your Beltain Elderflower Champagne in clean screw top bottles. Ensure that you screw the tops on very securely as this champagne is, by nature of it’s name, fizzy! You don’t want any exploding champagne bottles!

Leave the Beltaine champage for ten days before drinking as by this time, the natural yeasts from the flowers will have worked in conjunction with the sugar, and you will get a lovely, fizzy summer drink.  This Beltane drink tastes wonderful with ice and lemon.
Your Beltane champagne is best drunk within a month. The elderflower champagne is still ‘live’ and continuing to ferment, so the longer it is stored the more alcoholic (and drier) it will become.  So how long you leave it before drinking is a matter of your personal taste.
This is a fabulous drink to enjoy at any time, drink it or use it as part of your celebrations on the 1st May, Beltane. The elderflower champagne would also be a wonderful Beltane gift to give to friends and family.  It would also be a wonderful drink to celebrate a May handfasting. Enjoy the fun of collecting your elderflowers and making this beautiful elderflower champagne.
Beltane blessings to you, Alison xx


  1. oh my gosh wouldn't it be lovely to have few bottles of this in the cellar, my mum made this and it was wonderful,

  2. ...a wonderful recipe! ~ thankyoU! for sharing! blessed be!...(0:

  3. It would indeed Laurie! Thank you both for your comments. Yes I'm looking forward to making this, not sure if the elderflowers will be in bloom by Beltane though, everything is a bit late this year! blessings, Alison xx

  4. I have never heard of this before! Sounds wonderful! Thank you for sharing ;o)