Elderberry Liqueur


Freshly washed elderberries and vodka ready for infusing.

The elderberries are abundant on the trees around Aberdeen this autumn and I have been looking for something interesting to do with them. Traditionally they can make rather a nice wine but sadly I currently lack the space or equipment to undertake proper wine making.

However, I was inspired by the estimable Hank Shaw of the blog Hunter Angler Gardner Cook to try this recipe for elderberry liqueur, a use for elderberries for which I was previously not familiar. The fresh elderberries were removed from their stalks with the aid of fork and washed well in cold water, evicting quite a number of tiny creatures from the berries in the process. The Russian Standard vodka happened to be discounted at my local Sainsbury’s supermarket and I’d prefer not to use the cheapest vodka anyway. My recipe differs in the use of metric measurements as vodka is sold here in liters.


  • 1 liter of vodka
  • 500 milliliters of elderberries.
  • Sugar

I split the elderberries into three 500 milliliter Mason jars and then divided the vodka evenly between them. These have now been put away in a dark cupboard and as of the time of writing they have been there for three weeks quietly infusing.

Hank Shaw recommends 4 to 6 weeks infusing after which they should be strained through cheesecloth and 1/3 of a cup of sugar which is then left to dissolve and is then ready to drink. I now patiently await my first taste of this unusual wild hedgerow liqueur.

(The recipe also calls for 3 one-inch pieces of lemon rind however I did not have any lemon when adding the berries to the vodka and as of this time have completely forgotten to add any. Hopefully this will not prove to be a serious omission).


Elderberries and vodka ready for putting away in the cupboard.

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