Making Elderberry Winter Tonic Syrup with Fresh Elderberries

How to Make Elderberry Winter Tonic

Making an elderberry winter tonic for your family is really pretty simple.  I used to pay a ton of money for this very same medicine each year before I knew how to make my own.  These instructions are for fresh elderberries, but you can also use dried ones, in case there aren’t any elder trees in your area.  Even if you need to buy the berries instead of collecting them for free, it’s a much cheaper option for getting this great medicine, and totally worth the small effort of making it.  And one more thing… it’s delicious.




1.  Gather the elderberries, or order dried organic elderberries online and skip to the 3rd step.  Look for clusters of black berries on red stems to ensure that they are fully ripe.
2.  Use a fork to pull the berries from their stems, collecting them in a pot.  Pull out as many small bits of stem as you can, but don’t get obsessive about it.  Give them a little rinse.
3.  Add water— 1:1 cups water-to berry ratio for fresh, and 2:1 for dried.
4.  Add ginger, ground cinnamon and cloves.
5.  Bring to a boil on the stove, then reduce heat and let simmer for about 20 minutes, then allow to cool.
6.  Strain the liquid from the berries using a sieve, pressing on with a wooden spoon to get all of the juice out.
7.  Add raw honey– local, if possible for the best health benefits– to the elderberry liquid.  Stir until well mixed, and decant into jars or bottles (these are my favorite.)  Store in the refrigerator.


Take a teaspoonful daily during cold and flu season, or use it in delicious ways: as a pancake syrup, mixed into yogurt, as a drink mixer… There are so many ways to enjoy it, so even if you never get sick, it’s a fun thing to have on hand.  You can also use this tonic to make fermented elderberry soda!   Just dilute to the sweetness of juice and follow the instructions for fermenting from there.