Elderberry Liqueur

I found myself in the woods again the other day…

… my basket and secateurs in hand, stinging nettle burns on my arms, shiny black berries overhead – most too high to reach!

So this year there will be only one bottle of elderberry liqueur…but that is all we need after having already made apple, lemon verbena, herb, and elderflower liqueurs this year.

Elderberries are full of vitamin C, but must be cooked as they are slightly poisonous if eaten raw. They have a lovely flavour, but can be rather sour and seedy. This liqueur, however, is delicious. I’m not sure if any of the vitamins survive being drowned in all that sugar and alcohol, but we can pretend!

Here’s the recipe: double the quatities if you can get a kilo of berries!

Elderberry Liqueur

  • 500g (1 lb) elderberries (weighed after removing stalks)
  • 500ml (2 cups) vodka
  • 175g (3/4 cup) white sugar
  • 2 tbsps vanilla sugar

Remove the berries from the heads using a fork… it doesn’t matter if some of the stalks are still attached. Wash the berries and put in a large saucepan. Add a very little water, just enough to cover the base of the pan, and then add the sugar and vanilla sugar. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Put in a sterilized jar and cover with the alcohol. Seal and let stand in a warm place for 4 weeks.

Then sieve, and filter through a fine muslin cloth. It should really stand another 2 months to develop its flavour, but already tastes pretty good!

Keeps for about another 6 months after maturing, but really you should drink it up while the weather’s cold! It’s good for you!  😉

23 thoughts on “Elderberry Liqueur

  1. Oh! Elderberries! I used to make elderberry jam….We had bushes…plenty of berries … I used to make up huge batches of the jam and people from three states came to buy some. That was years ago. Another life… The one thing that is an aggravation about elderberries is the waxy coat they leave on the pots! But OH! the FLAVOR! Nothing like them for jam.

    • The flavour is divine, but don’t the berries stain everything! If there are more berries next year I must try making jam. And then I’ll come back to you for your recipe! 😉

  2. It is pretty. I just looked in my weavers garden book of plant dyes to see if elderberry was listed. It wasn’t. Is that strange?

    • I think so too – after all, my fingers were stained a beautiful shade of burgundy for a couple of days! I’m sure I have seen it as an ingredient on sweets, as a colouring. Perhaps it is only used for food and not material?

  3. Looks gooood. I´d like to try that, especially after I was to late for the elderflower liquer (all the flowers were already gone…)

  4. You MUST PRUNE those beasts and get the berries CLOSER! Once my paint in on all I can do then is PRUNE well all but the Lilacs too late for that but I will be off with a chainsaw cutting back larger stuff and hand pruners for the rest. We will have a yard that is much safer to see wild life in before they are on top of us. Lots of Rabies in these parts sadly. Coyotes will be howling soon as they hook up and court each other for their young next spring still 2 months left I need to get good sleep as when they are here I get none 😦

    Boy is our home looking so different from the color of a tropical sea to Dark Brown and Redwood but if all goes well I will have such a pretty backdrop for that English Type garden here.

    Our veggie garden now is down to a Butterfly bush just a few blooms on at the moment, Cosmos and Tomatoes, a few Green peppers, and more summer squash. Once they are done my sweetheart will use the tiller to turn it all under with the compost I made all summer then I will have him ready the area I want to put in new garden space so I can kill off all grass and weed seeds with a tarp and go about starting seeds that will fill this area. Feels good to finally be busy with my hands after a rough 12 years the pain is there but doing anything keeps my mind off of it 🙂

    I know I follow you and you me but I never seem to get these posts but it is OK I can search for them and catch up!


    • The elder trees are much too big already! And it’s hard to prune in the woods! They got so tall cos it’s shady in there. It’s good to get some autumn jobs done as early as possible, before the frost gets here. Yes, keeping busy is good, even if it hurts… you get a kind of pleasure from the pain in the end. Hugs back! 😀

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