Beverages, Wine, Beer and Spirits

Nettle Cordial

Nettle Cordial

After a week of stewing / brewing or whatever it is a cordial does, the final version of my nettle cordial is now ready. I have altered the other online recipes slightly because we find a lot of the cordial recipes are way too sweet for our tastes, so this one has less sugar in it compared with nettles and water. (Other versions state 200g nettles, 1kg sugar, 500ml water, 40g citric acid). And as before, for some mad reason, 800ml of water has made 1.4L of cordial. Please don’t ask me why!


  • 400g of nettle leaves & tops (no flowers)
  • 1kg granulated sugar
  • 800ml water
  • 40g citric acid


  • Pick the nettles – I find either waterproof gardening gloves or marigold gloves with a cotton liner glove inside is the best option! Jeans & long sleeves and boots/wellies also help!
  • Wash the nettles and pick over, removing any damaged leaves, insects or thick stems (things like insect damage etc) and roughly chop.
  • In a saucepan, add the sugar & citric acid to the boiling water and return to the boil. Cool slightly (but not too much, 70C).
  • Now add the chopped nettles & stir well to completely cover the nettles
  • Cover with a lid and stir daily for 1 week.
  • Don’t worry about the colour the nettles turn.
  • Strain through seive/muslin/cheese cloth/nut milk bag etc and squeeze any excess liquid out of the nettle leaves (which will have no sting now).
  • Bottle in sterile bottles as normal.

Nice and easy.

The final product, one week after starting is much darker than I had expected, but then there are a number of reasons for this.

It is quite late in the year for harvesting nettles even though I was able to find loads of young nettle tops and leaves, I used light brown sugar and then demerara when the light brown sugar ran out, rather than white granulated sugar because that was all I had available on my shelves. This alone will contribute to most of the colour, but it does not detract from the flavour. And yes, it tastes like shop bought Wild Nettle Cordial, only a different colour, but then the shop bought cordial is made from nettle extract with only 0.5% actual nettle leaves to make it a better consumer colour!

The bottle on the left is the Homemade Nettle Cordial.

— Discuss at CookingBites Cooking Forum