Nancy’s Lemon Cordial

Aug 20, 2021

A quick and easy recipe that makes two litres of delicious and refreshing lemon cordial concentrate.

Don’t be restricted to just lemons. Try this recipe with oranges and limes too.

Nancy is my sister’s friend’s Mum and has been an expert in making and delivering smokos (morning and afternoon tea) to farm workers for the last forty years.

This is super easy to make, and a great addition to the smoko bag for a refreshing cold drink as we head towards warmer weather and the spring heat.

The cordial concentrate is perfect to pop in the smoko bag at tailing/docking/lamb marking (whatever you call it!) for a refreshing change to usual cups of tea and coffee.

If you are battling winter colds – try grating a little fresh ginger into the cordial and adding boiling water.

To make the cordial . . .

Place all of the ingredients in a large pot (or jam pan) and simmer until all the sugar is dissolved. 

You could use a ‘simmering mat’ like the Agee one I am using to avoid any of the mixture getting ‘stuck’ on the bottom of your pot.

I was given this Agee mat as a gift to share with you all

While the cordial simmers – follow these steps to sterilise your glass bottles.

  1. Prepare your bottles by washing them with a bottle brush in hot soapy water, rinse well and drain.

2. Place them in the oven (lie them on the oven racks) at 120 for 10-15 minutes.

3. To sterilise any lids, pour boiling water over them and leave them in the water until you need them.

Once all the sugar has dissolved in the cordial – decide if you want a rind free cordial or if you don’t mind the pretty bits floating about.
Pour (or don’t) the liquid through a muslin cloth (or a clean cotton tea towel) into your hot sterilised bottles.

Place the clean lids on and sit back and wait for the ‘pop’ to know they are sealed. Any unsealed bottles place in your fridge to drink first.

This will last one month open in your fridge. Three months on your shelf, or alternatively place sealed in your freezer. It is perfectly fine to freeze glass bottles.

To drink . . .

Pour a little cordial into the bottom of a glass and add water. You will be the best judge as to how much cordial you use.

Drink with ice cold water, soda water, add to your gin or vodka, or even add ginger to a hot drink.

If you like everything citrus flavours – then you might like to try . . .

My lemon loaf recipe

Laura’s homemade lemonade

Elien’s easy lemon curd

Vanya’s lemon delicious pudding

A little something extra . . .

Nancy’s daughter Ruth (my sister’s friend) is celiac. She has a great New Zealand based business selling all things grainy for those of you that can’t have wheat. Take a look here if you are celiac, gluten free or know someone that would benefit from her business.

Nancy’s Lemon Cordial

This recipe will make two litres of delicious cordial concentrate for you to enjoy over Spring.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes


  • Large Pot
  • Zester
  • Jucing tool
  • Clean Glass Jars


  • 4 lemons
  • 50 grams citric acid or tartaric acid
  • kgs white sugar
  • 2 litres boiling water


How to make the Cordial

  • Pour the boiling water and sugar into a large pot.
  • Zest and juice the four lemons, and add it to the pot along with the citric acid.
  • Simmer over a low heat until all the sugar has dissolved.
  • While the cordial simmers, wash and steralise your bottles (look in the blog post for my method).
  • Strain the cordial using a clean muslin cloth or cotton tea towel (you could miss this step if you don't mind lemon rind in your cordial).
  • Pour into your prepared hot and steralised bottles and screw on the lids.

Different ideas for enjoying your Cordial

  • Pour a little cordial into the bottom of your glass (you will work out how strong you like it).
  • You could drink with ice cold water or soda water.
  • Grate a little fresh ginger on top of the coridal and pour boiling water over the top. Great for when you may have a cold.
  • Use as a mixer for when pouring yourself a gin or vodka.