Damson Cordial

Damson Cordial


  • 6 lb Damsons
  • 9 pints water
  • 6 lb Sugar

Formula: 1 lb Damsons, 1 & 1/2 pints Water, 1 lb Sugar. Easy.


Another easy-to-make cordial that tastes superb & brings back memories of October sunshine before it all went dark & miserable. Why Damson Cordial isn’t the main flavoured dilute drink of choice in the supermarkets I will never know. Better not shout too loudly or everyone will want some.

How to

Prepare the Damsons: Wash the Damsons in batches in very hot water to remove the bloom. Dry on a tea towel then use a sharp knife and halve them, checking for any that have been housing a grub or maggot (the inside will be a dark brown & mushy). Discard the rotten ones. Freeze the halved Damsons (keep the stones) in large bags (4 lb or 6 lb at a time).

When defrosted, empty the bag into a large pan and pour in the water.

Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Strain the contents through a straining bag into another clean, large pan or sterilised bucket (then wash out your pan and return the liquid to it). If you want clear cordial don’t squeeze the bag – either tie it up to drip, or rest in a colander (see photo below).

Add the Sugar to the liquid (in the pan) and bring to the boil again, stirring to dissolve.

Turn down the heat to a simmer & simmer away for about 15 minutes.

You may wish to remove any froth or scum that develops on the surface, but it’s tasty scum so I leave it well alone.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Decant into bottles (store in the fridge for a few weeks) or into sterilised plastic bottles for freezing (used milk bottles).

Dilute to taste.

Don’t tell anyone who buys orange dilute or they’ll all want some.


  1. please can you advise, how do you stop the damson cordial from fermenting ? I had some damsons in the freezer from last year so used them to make the cordial .. following your site recipe . I put it in the fridge straight away. but after 4 days it had begun to develop bubbles and therefore fermenting. the cordial is great but I need it to not ferment . would be greatful for your advise please .

    • I make mine in small batches as the recipe and keep in a spare fridge set to the coldest level. Have never had it start fermenting. You could refreeze the cordial (i use old 2 litre milk cartons after sterilising them) if you make a large batch – then just get out a bottle as you need it. I do this for blackcurrant cordial and elderflower cordial).

  2. Try using campden tablets. You can get them on line or at chemists with brewing supplies.
    I use them in my elderflower cordial. It stops the fermenting process. I use 1 campden tablet per 3 litres of water. Crush it in a pestle and mortar and stir into the liquid thoroughly before bottling in sterilised bottles. Screw down tight and check the tightness a week later.
    I’m going to try damson cordial for the first time this year.

    • Thank you for your advice, it is much appreciated. Can I just check, you would add the Camden tablets even whilst the cordial is hot?.. Damson cordial is really lovely, I just have to stop it from fermenting, so will be trying the Camden tablets. Thank you.

  3. Stupid question – is freezing essential? I have loads of damsons now!

    • Freezing just helps them break down, but not essential. It’s something i carried over from making Damson wine or gin. I just freeze as get so many it’s nice to make some in the winter too!

    • You don’t need to freeze damsons in order to make the cordial but generally as there are so many damsons off the tree, I doubt anyone would have enough time to use up all the damsons making the cordials in one go. Very been collecting around 6 lb per day off the tree since they were falling.. Impossible to deal with the damsons all at once as they don’t keep fresh very long. And it’s much nicer to be able to freeze them and then make the cordial as and when needed throughout the year. The damsons are not damaged by freezing, they do not loose any of their taste.

  4. Sorry for my late reply. No, add the campden tablet when it’s cooled. (It’s campden with a p)


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>