zero proof: elderberry elixirs
Updated: Jan 7
Zero-Proof Immunity: Elderberry Elixirs
Learn to craft zero-proof cocktails and elixirs using Spiced Elderberry Syrup.
We recently shared a recipe blog for our enhanced, culinary version of the classic elderberry syrup. January is a notorious month for cold and flu bugs and elderberry is a well known immunity safeguard. Here are some ways to enjoy the syrup “zero-proof”, or without any alcohol. Whether you are celebrating “Dry January”, living a sober lifestyle, or fighting off the crud, these recipes are sure to get your creative kitchen witchcraft flowing and deliver the warmth and comfort you need during these bone-stiffening winter months.
A hot toddy tea is a perfect way to wind your day down while boosting your immunity. Herbal teas are a perfect choice as many may contain added health benefits. Supporting local tea makers and growers is vital to our community and we love spreading the local love. One of our favorite lines of foraged tea blends is crafted by Bear Earth Herbals located in Northern Michigan. The Wild Bear Ease loose leaf herbal tea blend is a staple in our apothecary cabinet and we could not recommend it more highly. It is a proprietary blend of ethically wild-harvested raspberry leaves, organic elderberries, organic elder flowers, and sumac berries. Adding the enhanced elderberry syrup as a sweetener also brings some spice to the mix. Adding a little fresh pressed lemon juice or a dehydrated citrus wheel is the perfect Vitamin C boost, and provides a balance to the earthy, herbal, base. A great source for dehydrated citrus garnishes is Blue Henry Spirits. Their products are top notch and are packaged and shipped with care. We keep a stock of dehydrated lemon, lime, and orange wheels for year round use in our apothecary cabinet. Mountain Rose Herbs stocks an array of herbal tea blends and accessories, and they're also a great source for all of your herbal accessory needs.
Allow the spice flavors of the syrup to work their magic; you can use any black tea as a base. If you crafted the syrup using honey as the sweetener component, add 1-2 tsp. of syrup with a fresh lemon wedge to Orange Pekoe, or English Breakfast Tea. If you crafted with Agave Nectar, the earthy Earl Gray, which is blended with oil of bergamot is a perfect elixir combination. If crafted with Maple Syrup, a roasted barley hot tea with the syrup and lemon is the nightcap that packs natural melatonin properties without the buzz of alcohol.
Carbonation has been around since the mid 1700’s, and has been soothing human stomachs with it’s effervescent fizz ever since. Ginger ale, an early carbonated beverage, was invented by pharmacists in 1851 and was meant to be enjoyed at the soda fountains that were pharmacy staples at the time. They were convenient and refreshing, and the newly crafted formulas made them better for the gut. Adding 1 oz. of elderberry syrup with a fresh lemon or lime wedge takes this zero-proof highball to new levels with the addition of the cinnamon, cardamom, and star anise. For those that prefer a natural seltzer, a tablespoon or two to taste with your favorite flavored seltzer is not only refreshing, but a little boost to your immune system while the carbonated bubbles sooth the stomach. Adding a sprig of White Pine needles as a garnish will not only take your elixir to the next level of eye catching asthetics, it will add a few healthy benefits.
For those that prefer a bittered bubble and the added botanical benefits of quinine, a splash or two of the elderberry syrup to your tonic and lime is a great seasonal play on a zero-proof gimlet. There are many quality tonic waters available on the market, or if you are feeling kitchen witchy, crafting your own tonic concentrate is a great way to elevate your homestead alchemy skills. In our book, Drink the Wild, we share our Smoked Grapefruit and Sage Tonic Concentrate recipe.
If you have crafted the tonic concentrate and the syrup, tell us what you think!
Whether you are a straight-no-chaser cordial sipper, or prefer the medicinal benefits of the syrup with a stir and a shakel, incorporating elderberry syrup into your daily routine will provide a guiding light during the dark and cold winter season. This time is notoriously filled with crud goblins just waiting to prey on the weak and tired, but The Queen Berry of the Elder Tree has got your back!
Use 1-2 teaspoons daily for prevention.
2 teaspoons 4x daily if treating an ailment.
Recipes by Angie Jackson. Photographs by Angie Jackson and Canva.
Article by Angie Jackson and Austin Wines.
Do not try self-diagnosis or attempt self-treatment for serious or long-term problems without first consulting a qualified medical herbalist or medical practitioner as appropriate. Do not exceed any dosages recommended. Always consult a professional practitioner if symptoms persist. If taking prescribed medicines, seek professional medical advice before using herbal remedies.
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