Saturday, September 10, 2011

Spiced Elderberry Cordial

The season seems to be turning now with the occasional nip in the air and the trees and hedgerows are laden with autumn fruit. This drink is most definitely an autumn delight which is packed with vitamin C to help fight off the colds that are so often rife as this time of year.

This recipe is based on one I found in this months Country File magazine with some extra spices and less sugar added than the original. Don't be surprised if it smells like Christmas in your house after making this. It is very easy to make and you can also pick a double batch and freeze half the elderberries to make a second batch later in the year, just remember to leave plenty of fruit on the trees for all the local birds and animals. I foraged for these elderberries from some local hedgerows. In the UK elderberries (Sambucus nigra) are common all over on scrubby areas and in hedges. If you cannot get elderberries you could always try this recipe with blackcurrants or blackberries instead.

Spiced Elderberry Cordial
Vegan, vegetarian, dairy free, gluten free

300g /10.5oz Elderberries
350ml Water
400g/14oz Sugar
12 Cloves
3cm/1.5inch Crushed fresh ginger
1 Cinnamon stick
Strips of zest from 1/2 lemon
3tbs Lemon juice


  • Wash the elderberries and then remove the berries from the stalks by teasing them off with a fork into a pan.
  •  Add the water and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Add the cloves, ginger, cinnamon and lemon zest and allow to simmer over a low heat for around half and hour or until berries have yielded their juice. 
  • Mash the berries to ensure they release all the juices and then strain the pan contents through a sieve. Return the juices to the pan and add the sugar and if necessary a spot more water and the lemon juice.
    Bring to the boil for 5 mins and then pour into sealable bottles. Seal and store them in the refrigerator where it will keep for 3 months plus.
  • It is ready to use straight away and can be add to hot or cold water to taste.


  1. What is the dif. between elderflowers and elderberries? may I use elderflower syrup (from ikea) instead?


  2. Hi Amanda, Thanks for stopping by. Elderflower syrup is made with the flowers from the same plant but the flowers and berries taste quite different and the spices may overwhelm the delicate taste of the flowers. You could always try blackcurrants or blackberries instead if you cannot get hold of black elderberries.

  3. Hi Dinks - this is a such a delightful drink! Somehow it has that calming effect by just looking at your photos. I'm all for the feel and smell of Christmas anytime of the year...thanks for sharing this on Season with Spice!

  4. Thanks for the kind comment Reese. I love Season with Spice and the whole concept. Thanks for featuring some of my recipes.

  5. Is this something that could be canned? And if so, do you have any recommendations between water bath and pressure and length of processing time? Thanks!

  6. Hi Angela,
    I am not sure to be honest. The cordial does last a reasonable length of time in the refridgerator and if you freeze some elderberries then you can make up a batch whenever you need it.