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My partner made Elderflower cordial with elderflower, sugar, lemon, a very small amount of cider vinegar and water about 3 months back. Last night I drank about 3/4 pint of it instead of booze as I am trying to go dry for September. This morning I feel as though I have a hangover? Can the sugar have turned to alcohol? It was ver sweet. Help?

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As far as I was able to find, nothing in elderflower would really stop yeast, and acidic nature might hamper them a bit, but is not enough to stop them entirely. So yes, a bit of fermentation might happen.

  • Dear Molot thanks - that might explain the feeling this morning. Just to be clear though there was no yeast in the mixture to start with. How strong do you think it would have been? Thanks again for your help! Ian – IanSmith Sep 11 '16 at 21:02
  • Yeast are common in nature, especially on flowers and fruit. Wild ones, without nutrient, and taste was sweet? Not much. Few %abv. And quite a lot of higher alcohols responsible for hangover, that's my best guess. – Mołot Sep 12 '16 at 7:02
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A short google search reveals: How to make Elderflower Wine

There really isn't that much difference between what you did and the recipe described in the article. Yes; if it has sugar, yeast can turn it into ethanol.

Also, as you created less-than-ideal fermentation conditions (lack of proper nutrients, not enough o2/ppm, unknown cell count), the production of methanol, fusels and all other less-than-ideal alcohols would actually increase - so, you may have inadvertently created hangover fuel.

On the other hand, the vinegar may contain acetobacter, so it might eventually turn into vinegar.

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