Many flower pollens contain naturally occuring yeasts, which means they're able to ferment naturally, creating a light, fizzy cordial that quenches a warm weather thirst like nothing else. With a few simple ingredients and a little patience, you can make a non-alcoholic, fizzy cordial from a few heads of lilac flowers.
a half gallon jar or bottle
a generous cup of lilac flowers, all green stems removed
a cup of neutral sweetener, like white sugar or agave nectar
1/4 cup lemon juice,
Combine the first four ingredients in your half gallon jar and add enough water to fill the jar to within an inch of the top. Seal the jar and shake vigorously to dissolve the sugar.
Remove the jar lid and cover the jar loosely, draped with a piece of cheesecloth or a cloth napkin. Leave the jar on the kitchen counter, at room temperature, for four days, stirring daily. The natural yeasts in the flower pollen should begin to ferment after a few days.
After four days, remove the cloth, re-seal the jar, and let it sit for another 2 days at room temperature. As the fermentation continues, the fizziness will increase.
On day six, strain the liquid and dispose of the flowers. Then re-strain the cordial through a piece of cheesecloth or yogurt strainer to remove the fine sediment (which is the spent yeast). Chill the cordial and serve it ice cold for maximum refreshment. But don't serve it over actual ice. The flavor of this cordial is light and delicate, and dilution by melting ice spoils the balance.
Because this cordial only ferments lightly and briefly, it is not alcoholic. If you'd like to produce a fizzier drink, run your cordial through a soda siphon. You can enjoy it straight up, mixed with a little prosecco, or in a floral cocktail.
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