Fast Track: Fastfood - It's amazing what you can make out of flower and water

This summer, the drink you should be sipping in the garden or outside your favourite bar is elderflower cordial.

More sophisticated than Ribena, it can be mixed with anything from sparkling water or soda to champagne. Now that the hedgerows all over the country are laden with tiny sprays of elderflowers, you could even get your hands a little dirty and make your own. With a sweet scent like that of muscatel grapes, and a delicious freshness, elderflower cordial is perfect if you are one of those people who always needs a long siesta after a few glasses of chardonnay in the sun.

Elderflower cordial is a combination of elderflowers, sugar, water and lemon juice that is left to infuse for about 12 hours. The result is a delicious syrupy cordial that has the added bonus, for the health-conscious among us, of being full of vitamin C.

Homemade cordial has the same allure as homemade lemonade - your culinary abilities will be catapulted to Delia Smith status, even though the recipe hasn't changed since Mrs Beeton's days.

(Dissolve 21/2 pints of water with 31/2 pounds of sugar. Bring to the boil, stirring constantly, until the sugar has dissolved completely. Leave to cool. Then place three finely chopped lemons, 2oz of citric acid, and 25 elderflower heads in a bowl. Pour the cold sugar and water mixture on top of it and leave to infuse overnight. Strain the infusion and then decant into bottles.)

However, if even that simple exercise is beyond you or elderflowers don't grow outside your house, you can, of course, cheat. Belvoir is one of a growing number of companies that has anticipated the growing demand for elderflower cordial. With 70 acres of elderflower trees, and the same traditional methods that mean the elderflowers are infused within three hours of picking, they ensure that no matter how lazy, you will always be able to get your elderflower fix. Perfect if you are already suffering from rose and Pimms overkill.

l Belvoir Elderflower cordial is available from Sainsbury's, Waitrose, Tesco, Safeway, Morrison's, delicatessens and specialist food shops. From pounds 2.50.

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