Happy Equinox! A boozy remedy recipe for cold season.

21 Sep
English: Ripening elderberries

English: Ripening elderberries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

September is almost gone, and I’m not sure where it went!  As we hit the fall equinox, we move into true autumn:  my favorite season.  I can tell by the farmer’s market stands that the harvest is in full swing, and yesterday was cool enough in my kitchen that I could enjoy making french onion soup.

In my yoga classes recently, I’ve noticed people showing up with stuffy noses. Allergies are starting to flare up, and so is cold season. A while ago I posted an old wive’s remedy for colds that I got from my mom: raisins in gin. Stretching farther back into my feminine ancestry: we always knew when my mother’s mother had a cold because she would take some brandy in the evening to treat herself. I don’t recall her drinking besides this, and Baba always got a little silly when she drank her brandy. In honor of Baba, I created an elderberry infused brandy for my own cold prevention. Elderberries are one of the most beloved folk remedies for the common cold. This recipe is basically a tincture that I concocted out of my own mind.  Here’s another blogger’s take on it, using fresh elderberries:  www.loveandwildhoney.com/archives/455.  She uses a higher ratio of elderberries, vodka which is more traditional for tinctures, and she filters them out after a few months.  Mine have been in the bottle all year, and I just strain them out as I pour it.  The brandy is stronger in taste than the elderberries, and it is sure to put a bit of hair on your chest if nothing else!  I only make a cup at a time because I really don’t consume very much of the stuff, but feel free to play with quantities and ratios.

Elderberry infused brandy

Take a cup of brandy and put it into an appropriate sized container. I used Sljivovica, a plum brandy.

Add 2 TBS of dried elderberries to the container. mix.

Let the mixture sit for at least a week. It will turn a deep, satisfying purple.

Consume in small quantities, straining out the berries when you pour.  I usually sip the infusion straight-up from a little sake glass.

If that way of consuming is too harsh for you, you might add a small shot of your infused brandy to hot water with honey, hot-toddy style.  Add some freshly grated ginger to enhance the flavor and the cold-fighting qualities!


Elderberry brandy before and after infusion: this batch has had the opportunity to infuse all year.


One Response to “Happy Equinox! A boozy remedy recipe for cold season.”


  1. Alewife gets a cold, engages with Osha root: Monica’s tincture. | Brooklyn Alewife - March 13, 2014

    […]  I do recall some time in mid-January, I almost got sick and warded it off with plenty of sleep, elderberry brandy, herb teas, and an amazing Osha root-based tincture from my friend Monica.   She discovered the […]

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