Elderberry Syrup Cockaigne Recipe

The name of this recipe is a homage to one of my go-to cookbooks, The Joy of Cooking, where the extra-special recipes have the moniker “Cockaigne” added. The word comes from a middle-English fable meaning “luxurious and idle paradise;” or abundance! Feel free to add other delicious herbs to the recipe such as organic Vanilla Beans, Hibiscus, Allspice, Star Anise, and more!


  • 1 cup dried, organic Elderberries (or 2 cups fresh elderberries)
  • 1 teaspoon organic Cinnamon Chips or 2 Cinnamon Sticks
  • 1 teaspoon organic whole Cloves
  • 1 teaspoon organic Ginger (powder or root) or 2 Tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon dried organic dried Orange Peel or ¼ cup fresh orange peel
  • 1 Tablespoon dried organic dried Bitter Orange Peel
  • 1 Tablespoon organic dried Wild Cherry Bark
  • 1 Tablespoon organic dried Rosehips
  • 10 whole organic Cardamom Pods
  • 4-5 cups water


  1. Put all these ingredients into a large saucepan and heat over medium-high heat to boiling.
  2. Once the mixture boils, turn the heat down and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  3. Pour the mixture through a sieve into a large Pyrex pitcher or glass bowl.
  4. The sieve will catch all the berries and bits of unground herbs.
  5. Press down with the back of a wooden spoon on the berries just to make sure you get all the juice out of them.
  6. Now add 2 cups local, raw, organic honey and stir into the juice mixture while it is still warm, but not too hot.
  7. You can now pour this into a jar and keep it in the fridge, or even can it in a hot water bath.

    This makes about 5 cups of syrup, enough to fill a quart jar and have a little left to use fresh and warm on morning pancakes! It should keep well for several months in the fridge (if it lasts that long!)

elderberries in bowl

Classic Elderberry Syrup Recipe


  • 4 cups cold water
  • 2 cups organic dried Elderberries
  • 1 organic cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp fresh grated organic ginger root or organic dried ginger root
  • raw local honey (or organic agave syrup for a vegan recipe)


  1. Combine the berries and herbs with cold water in a pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat and allow herbs to simmer for 30 to 40 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and mash the berries in the liquid mixture.
  4. Strain the berries and herbs through cheesecloth and squeeze out the juice.
  5. Measure the liquid and add an equal amount of honey. Gently heat the honey and juice for a few minutes until well combined. Do not boil!
  6. Bottle in a sterilized glass.

I love cookbooks! Cooking and creating in the kitchen is my bliss. My approach to herbal recipe-making tends to be inspired by decades of kitchen experiments. While a simple elderberry syrup is quite functional and elderberries are delicious on their own, I couldn’t help but fiddle around until I’d crafted my own version of a classic elderberry syrup—full of extra herbal goodness and spicy flavor.

Elderberries are used this time of year to support immune health.* This syrup is wonderful when sipped for herbal purposes, but it is also amazing as a pancake or waffle syrup or used in place of a simple syrup in a delicious cocktail. I like to pour about ¼ cup in a tall glass or pantry jar and fill with ginger ale or club soda for a refreshing beverage!

This recipe is easy to multiply if you’d like to make a big batch to store or give as gifts. These glass pantry jars and amber bottles are great choices.

Note: This blog was originally published in 2015. Because it’s so popular, we decided to update it for you. Enjoy! 

Courtesy of Mountain Rose Herbs

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