Home-made lemon cordial

This week I knocked another item off my kitchen goddess definitive list… home-made cordial.

I know I say this quite often but it was surprisingly easy. Actually since starting this journey I have found that quite a few of the “kitchen essentials” that had daunted me in the past are really fairly easy to do and I am sure you could quickly master them with a bit of effort and trial and error.

Given that it was my first try at cordial I thought I should start by using a recipe of someone trusty and so I turned to Stephanie Alexander. I mean with Stephanie by your side, how could you go wrong?!? I also decided to make lemon cordial as my parents-in-law have trees that are just dripping in lemons.

Mae was a gem and went to bed at 7pm and I started off the process just after. It is always a little scary starting something at night as you never know how long you are going to be up. This time round I was done and dusted in an hour. It would have been quicker (probably 30 minutes) but I had to jump in the car and dash up to Officeworks to buy a couple of bottles to put the cordial in as my pre-planning didn’t include consideration of how to store the cordial!

Give it a go I say, it is delicious. It is absolutely well worth the small amount of effort and a great way to use up excess lemons from your tree. Maybe I will try blackcurrant cordial next, I have always had a little thing for Ribena….

PS – this is not for those on a diet, it included 2 kg of sugar – yikes! In fact, I think next time I will use less sugar as I like my lemon cordial quite tart.

What you need…

  • 2kg caster sugar (I think you could use 1.5kg if you like your cordial a bit tart)
  • 1 lt water
  • 30 g citric acid
  • 30 g tartaric acid
  • juice of 6 lemons
  • zest of 2 lemons

NB: this makes about 2.5 litres of delicious sweet lemony cordial.

The how to…

1) Combine your sugar and water in a large saucepan over heat and stir until the sugar dissolves.

2) Add the citric and tartaric acid and continue stirring until you are sure it is fully dissolved.


3) Stand aside to cool.

4) Juice and zest your lemons.


5) Sterilise your bottles (see here).

6) Once your sugar mixture is cooled, add the juice and zest and stir to mix completely.

7) Transfer your cordial to your sterilised bottles.

8) Serve with iced water or soda water. So refreshing on a hot day!


Adapted from Stephanie Alexander Cook’s Companion

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