Elderberry Cordial Syrup

The elderberries (Sambucus nigra) are abundant this year. Great bunches of them are hanging off the branches, bowing down almost begging to be picked and made into an elderberry cordial syrup.

As humans, we can benefit a lot from elderberry culinary delights. In folklore, Elderberries have been used as a protection against influenza.

World-renowned Israeli virologist Dr. Madeleine Mumcuoglu has dedicated her life to researching the health benefits of Elderberry extract and has established a clinically proven treatment against flu (including swine flu and avian flu).

Antiviral Effectiveness of Elderberry


Warning: Do not drink raw elderberry juice as it is toxic. “The berries must be cooked sufficiently to avoid the risk of nausea or vomiting or cyanide toxicity.” REF.

Elderberry Cordial Syrup Recipe Ingredients

  • Bucket of Elderberries
  • Granulated sugar
  • Cloves

Elderberry Cordial Syrup Recipe Instructions

  1. Cut the Elderberries just below the stalks.
  2. Use a fork to remove the Elderberries from the stalks into a bowl.
  3. Place the Elderberries in a saucepan with enough water to cover them.
  4. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Strain the Elderberry mixture through a muslin or straining bag, squeezing to make sure you get all the juice out.
  6. For each pint of juice you get, add 1lb of granulated sugar and 12 cloves.
  7. Boil the mixture for 10 minutes.
  8. Allow the Elderberry mixture to cool, and then bottle in sterilised glass bottles, making sure that the caps have a plastic seal.
  9. Add an equal amount of the cloves to each bottle you make up.

The Elderberry cordial syrup will last up to two years.

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  1. Do you add the cloves at the same time as the sugar, before the final boiling – or once the finished mixture is cooled and you add during bottling?

  2. So I’ve jusr accidentally invented Elderberry toffee, by getting distracted and wandering off during the second boil.With tremendous good luck i walked back in just as the sugar caramelised but begore before it burned, realised what had happened and tipped it out on a tray to set. its delicious, intensely fruity, and would be just the thing for coating toffee apples if I had any apples to hand. Off to go and find some more elderberries now, thoughtfully sucking on my toffee-encrusted spoon…

  3. AMAZING! Trying to heal my body of Lupus, Multiple Myeloma, Lyme Disease &Fibromalgia and the calling is for nature and natural! I’m THRILLED to have found this and to learn all I can! Thank you Robin! ?

  4. I pick and freeze the elderberries so I can make the syrup at a quieter time of year for harvesting. It also means I can extract the juice without boiling, so retaining more of the goodness. I place the frozen berries in the strainer bag and leave to thaw and drain, squeezing out the fruit to finish. To each pint of elderberry juice add juice of one lemon, 1lb demerara sugar and 50ml water in which you’ve boiled cloves, cinnamon and ginger for 10-15 mins, covered. Boil rapidly for 5 mins then bottle.
    This recipe is from my herbalist

    • Hi Clare, so in effect you’re only boiling the elderberry juice 5 min. total? Is that long enough to get rid of the cyanide in the berries? (I think that’s what is in them and the reason they need cooking). I like how your method sounds too because I also don’t like to over cook my natural ingredients. I made my first batch and sweetened it with honey, not sugar.

    • I just steam out the berries in a juice steamer, and then drain the very hot juice into canning bottles and seal. once opened it will keep in the fridge for a long time. I do not add sugar to it so it is not sweet to drink. but works very well to stop any sickness. If i wanted it sweet I would use honey, stevia or xylitol. If you use xylitol you can keep in the cupboard as xylitol will crystalize in the fridge. and the xylitol will prevent it from going bad. I drink about a half oz. at a time three times a day. -Doesn’t take long.

  5. I’ve made this cordial for 2 consecutive years now and find it very effective against colds and flu. The secret is to take it immediately at the start of cold symptoms. I use mine as a hot toddy.

  6. Hi Robin- do you add cloves twice to this recipe? Once in the boiling stage and then again at bottling? Just wanted to clarify- can’t wait to make it this week! Thank you

  7. Hi
    read somewhere about using 1/2″ mesh to remove berries from stalks by rubbing them back and forth across it above a bowl. Didn’t have any mesh so took the front off my currently redundant cooling fan (floor standing size), gave it a wash and used that. Worked a treat.

  8. After checking several different recipes I added some grated ginger and cinnamon sticks in the final boil and strained again before bottling. It tastes pretty good. I am interested in the anti inflammatory benefits of the ingredients and wondered how much a day would be recommended to drink ? ie, one teaspoon or tablespoon ?

    • Ruthdigs – Honey does act as a preservative, although you would have to be very aware that it might ferment unless kept in a fridge. I am still playing with using honey and haven’t yet found the right proportions to use to make it stable without refrigeration.

  9. I’ve been making elderberry syrup for years now, and always with organic honey, which is added when the strained juice is lukewarm. Recipes differ, but it is basically 500ml water to 150g elderberries and 340g honey plus different spices. I keep the syrup on the counter, and have not had a problem with it going off or alcoholic! Alas, this year around us in London, all the elderberries, and blackberries, are over already.

  10. I’ve just made 4 pints here in Essex. I made a smaller amount last year which all the family loved, particularly when getting colds over winter, so doubled up this year. The berries are smaller, but it’s come out beautifully. Thank you Robin

  11. Robin I have used a variation on your recipe to incorporate honey and reduce sugar eg =three quarters of your measure per pint of juice . I break this down further into half Demerara half plain granulated and into my usual two pint batches ( I always make two lots at the same time side by side) add Half bottle of Acacia honey 340 g size of bottle ( not the expensive one Asda spec?) to a two pint mix.. more for taste than preservative … further variation I add a mulled wine bag into the boiling stage tastes Devine for Xmas … I have a sweet tooth but I also added 1 lemon juice to my 2 pt batch at the juicing stages can’t remember why but must have read it some where. Like you I add the cloves x thanks for your eatweeds page !! you are an inspiration x

  12. Hi is it OK to have a teaspoon each & every day (even without cold symptoms) I wanted to give a spoon a day to my children but not sure on dosage? I used local honey instead of sugar! Thanks it is delicious

  13. I made some cordial – but I found it had a strange “beefy” undertaste that wasn’t very pleasant (to my taste) – is that normal or was I just unlucky with my choice of berries?
    Also been making lots of blackberry cordial with some star anise as the spice – very pleasant!

  14. Maybe if sugar is not used (stevia replacing it), the syrup could be frozen in an ice cube tray and the cubes kept in a bag in the freezer? Just a thought.

  15. This is the same recipe we use. Often get enough berries for cordial that lasts a family of 5 through to mid-summer – we get a “picking madness”. Have tried honey instead of sugar, but hasn’t lasted as long, which is odd.

  16. Made this for the first time on Wednesday and again today, such a delicious drink.

    Robin, have you ever made Pontack with elders? I made a bottle some years ago and it still lies unopened…waiting 7 years until using it!!

  17. I made elderberry tincture with vodka. Obviously the berry’s are raw. I took it last winter without any negative side effects and was almost entirely free of viruses.
    Do you think it is safe from toxicity processed as a tincture?

  18. Hi Robin,
    It is too early in the year for me to do elderberry cordial, but I made some elderflower cordial using the same method as your elderberry cordial recipe. The only extra I added was the juice and zest from 2 lemons and 1 small orange. if the taste is anything to go by, I cannot wait for the elderberries to ripen. Thank you for the recipe.


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