Classic Elderberry Syrup Recipe

Ever wonder what is in that Elderberry syrup you’re taking?  Here is an easy to make one that you can do yourself.

Makes about 3 cups of syrup without alcohol, 4 cups with alcohol.
Active Time: 1 hour


  • 2 cups dried organic elderberries (dried is usually easier to find but fresh is good as well)
  • 4 cups cold water (distilled, purified, or spring water works best)
  • 2-3 tsp. Organic dried ginger root
  • 1 organic sweet cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup raw honey, local is best (or organic maple syrup or agave for a vegan/infant-friendly recipe or tapioca syrup and monk fruit powder for sugar free) double the amount of sweetener to increase shelf life
  • 1 cup vodka or brandy (optional to increase shelf life)


  1. Combine berries and herbs with cold water in a pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat and allow herbs to simmer for 30 to 40 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and let steep for 1 hour.
  4. Strain berries and herbs using a funnel overlaid with doubled cheesecloth or an un-dyed cotton muslin bag and squeeze out liquid (careful, the liquid will likely still be hot!). Discard used herbs in compost.
  5. Once the liquid has cooled to just above room temperature, add honey and stir to incorporate. 
  6. If using vodka or brandy, add here and stir until well combined.
  7. Bottle in sterilized glass and store in the refrigerator.


  • Be sure to add honey in a ratio that is at least half of the total volume of liquid after it has simmered. This amount can change slightly and you want to make sure you have enough preservatives (honey) so that your syrup won’t spoil. (Example: If you are left with 2 cups of elderberry decoction, you will want to add at least 1 cup of honey.)
  • This recipe is easy to multiply if you’d like to make a big batch to store or give as gifts (glass jars and amber bottles are great choices!). My family enjoys a teaspoon or two of this syrup, right out of the fridge, just about every day during the sniffle season.

Adapted from Mountain Rose Herbs, WRITTEN BY TIERAONA LOW DOG, M.D., R.H.

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