Spring is finally upon us! And the dandelions are on the move, taking over lawns, one sunny flower at a time. My partner Christopher fondly remembers his family’s tradition of making Dandelion Wine, so last year we convinced (bribed) our neighborhood kids to pick as many of the bright yellow flowers as they could find.
Why make Dandelion wine, you ask?
Weeds + Sugar = Boozy Sunshine in a Bottle
The recipe is simple. All it takes is a ton of foraged dandelion petals, sugar, water, lemons and some yellow raisins. The only special ingredient you need is a packet of champaign or mead yeast, which you can find online at a company like Northern Brewer. The petals are steeped in water, strained and mixed with the remaining ingredients. Ferment it out the wine, pour off the clear liquid leaving the yeast behind (called racking) and leave it to age for at least a year, maybe more.
The wine definitely takes it’s own sweet time to age. We just tried ours and it still has some volatile ester alcohols that go right up your nose. We’ve put it back in the basement for another couple months. But don’t despair! Check the wine in a few months and you could have Spring in a bottle. Serve chilled. It tastes similar to mead, has overtones of honey and the smell of dandelions.
If you don’t have the patience for Dandelion Wine, try a Dandelion Shrub. It only takes a week and mixes beautifully with sparking wine or gin.