Elderberry Cordial

This is one of my favorites. Elderberries are among my favorite trees for their medicine, and I use every bit of them: berries, leaves, flowers, and twigs. Here, the berries make a divine liqueur with a gorgeous purple color that needs to show off in a clear glass decanter. This recipe produces a lightly sweet, lightly tart, fruity cordial with a silky mouthfeel. ~ Holly Bellebuono


  • 2 quarts fresh elderberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups vodka
  • 1 cup brandy
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

In a glass 2-quart jar, crush the elderberries with a long-handled wooden spoon. Pour in the sugar and crush them together, being sure to appreciate the amazing scarlet color! (Wear appropriate clothing or an apron, as elderberry juice will stain fabrics blue.) Pour in the vodka, brandy and lemon juice; and cover the mixture with water or more vodka
until it is 1/4 inch from the top of the jar. Cap the jar and shake it. Label and store it in a cool, dark place for at least two months. Decant (strain) the mixture into a clean jar, and discard the berry matter. Test the flavor for sweetness, but realize that it will mellow over time. Store for one more month, and decant the liqueur again through cheesecloth if desired.

Yields approximately 1 quart.

Excerpted from
The Essential Herbal for Natural Health by Holly Bellebuono, (c) 2012. Published by arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc., Boston.