Spiced Elderberry Syrup


Someone once told me the more U-turns you make the better the photography. I think this analogy can be applied to life too. It is important to know when to veer off your “path” and experience the magic. In nature lines often begin to curve and flow, taking the path of least resistance. Alternate routes keep the mind sharp and the spirit light.

A couple days ago I ventured to the community pool for a lap swim. I must have read the schedule wrong because I was surprised to see the start of a water aerobics class.

“Well you are already here,” the cashier said.

I hesitantly replied, “Does it cost more?”

“An extra 50 cents.”

I decided it was a price I was willing to pay for one of life’s little detours.

So there I was with twenty others who were triple my age, but with the vibrancy of teenagers. We ran in place to Smashmouth, did the “rolling otter” in the deep end, and I got to meet some really wonderful people. It was not what I was expecting to do, but it turned out better!

Continuing with this week’s theme, some friends and I got lost while trying to find elderberries. We ended up with pounds of blackberries that were later turned into a delicious crumble. I think the lesson I am learning here is to go with the flow, and sometimes life will give you more than you expect! We did end up finding the elderberries and I made a highly nutritious immune boosting syrup out of them. So if the “rolling otter” doesn’t keep me well, this syrup should certainly do the trick!



large pot with lid

potato masher

cheese cloth/strainer

measuring tools

jar for storage (or large tincture bottles for dosing)


a few cups of fresh elderberries (for dried recipe go here)

a jar of honey


an ounce or two brandy (or favorite immune boosting tincture)

cloves, ginger, cinnamon and other favorite spices (optional)


Add about an ounce of water for every cup of fresh elderberries you put into your pot. The plants carry a lot of water in them so you really don’t need too add much. If you would like to have a less concentrated medicine you can add more water. This recipe goes pretty low on the water but it will yield a highly medicinal finished product.

Add in your favorite spices, I lightly added some ginger and cardamom but would suggest adding more than you think. The elderberries have a strong flavor that can easily cover up any spices that you add. I would say a 1/2 tablespoon to a tablespoon per cup of elderberries.

Cover the pot and allow to simmer for at least an hour. Every once in a while stir the mixture and feel free to mash it up with your potato masher. Channel your inner witch or warlock and add some healing vibes as you stir the cauldron.

After the time has passed turn off the burner and strain the mixture out. You may want to use a couple different methods. Cheese cloth or a closely wired strainer will probably work best. I strained my syrup out a few times.

Next, add the honey. I prefer this syrup as a 1:2 ratio with honey. So if you had one cup of syrup, you would add two cups of honey. This will help preserve the mixture and cut the tartness of the berry. Adding the honey while it is still warm but not on the burner will allow you also get the healing benefits of the honey.

Then add an ounce or two of brandy (to taste) which also helps preserve the syrup. If I had echinacea tincture on hand, I would probably use that instead.

And there you have it! Store the syrup in the fridge and it should last you through the season, or longer.

1 TBSPN a day to prevent the bug.

1 TSP or more every few hours if you get the bug.

I am finding it very enjoyable in fizzy mineral water, almost like soda!

Sending love to your immune systems~

Summer Ashley

***Elderberries have a long history in European medicine for warding of colds and flus. The berries are full of vitamin c, potassium, beta carotene, calcium, and phosphorus.The beautiful fruits must be cooked or dried before consumption, and as for any medicine take a small amount first to see how it settles with you.