As autumn is now officially here, my mind has turned to the supportive power of elder berries. Elderberry syrup is obviously a tried and true ally for immune system support*, but elder berries also make an excellent base for cocktails and mocktails. My Elder Bellini recipe is one such fall cocktail that provides both remarkable flavor and immune system support*. I must admit that it isn’t exactly an “herbal cocktail” per se—because it is made with herb-infused spirits, it is ostensibly an extract that is added to juice to impart a slight herbal flavor in a full-bodied cocktail. The beauty of this method is that you can make the infusion ahead of time, so you have your elderberry-infused base on hand whenever you get the urge for a remarkably beautiful, delicious cocktail.
My adventure with herb-infused spirits was inspired by a visit to our local Plank Town Brewing Company, where they make an amazing hibiscus-infused martini. The color imparted by the hibiscus, not to mention the flavor, blew me away, and I thought I must try this. When I infuse vodka with elderberries, I get a stunningly purple vodka that is rich in flavor. Combining this beautiful infusion with peach juice creates a dual-colored beverage that goes down refreshingly smooth!
Elderberry and Lemon Infused Vodka
Makes about 16 drinks
- 16 ounces organic vodka (80-90 Proof)
- 1/2 cup to 1 cup organic dried elderberries, to taste
- 1/2 cup to 1 cup organic dried lemon peel, to taste
- Pour elderberries and lemon peel into a quart jar.
- Add 16 ounces of vodka.
- Infuse three to five days. The jar can remain on the counter. Shake once a day.
- Strain the infused vodka into a separate pint jar.
- Follow directions below for Bellini.
- Taste every couple of days to determine your preferred flavor profile. If you infuse the elder berries and lemon peel too long, they can impart a bitter flavor.
Elderberry and Lemon-Infused White Grape Juice
Makes 6-8 drinks
- 8 ounces organic white grape juice
- 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup organic dried elderberries, to taste
- 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup organic dried lemon peel, to taste
- Put all ingredients into a saucepan over medium-low heat.
- Heat to approximately 200°F, just before boiling.
- Remove from heat, cover with a lid, and let infuse for 30 minutes.
- Strain the grape juice into a separate pint jar.
- Store infused-grape juice in the refrigerator—it should be used within 5 days.
Elderberry Bellini Cocktail or Mocktail
Makes 1 drink
- Organic peach juice
- Elderberry and lemon infused vodka or white grape juice (see above)
- Organic lime juice, optional
- Fill a champagne flute about halfway with peach juice.
- Gently pour infused vodka or grape juice over the top to create layers of color.
- Add a squeeze of optional lime juice to add a bit of complexity.
Pro Tip: Using a spoon to catch the initial splash helps to maintain the two-tone color.
Want more herbal cocktail/mocktail recipes?
You may also enjoy:
- Perfect Bloody Mary Recipe with Horseradish and Paprika
- How to Make Homemade Vermouth + Cocktail Recipe
- Herb-Infused Elderberry Margarita Recipe
*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. For educational purposes only