Elderberry cluster with purple and green berries
image by Vali: Flickr.com
Purple elderberries are native, wild plants that can be used to make jelly or liqueur. When you think of elderberries, think of regular purple grapes. In fact, elderberries have a similar aroma and color, and also similar to grapes, they have seeds. When making your elderberry liqueur, it is best to use fresh elderberries so you will get the most flavor. Dried ones can be used, but they might not make as flavorful a liqueur as when using fresh. This recipe isn't hard, and before long you will be sipping your homemade brew.
Clean 1 pint of elderberries, making sure to remove any part of the sappy stem from them. The stems are slightly toxic, so you don't want any of them mixing in with your liqueur. Wash the elderberries off in a strainer.
Place the elderberries into a quart-size Mason jar or other type of jar that seals well.
Add 2/3 cup of sugar and the juice of one lemon into the jar with the elderberries. Don't worry about the elderberries floating in the liquid, as you will be removing them later in the process.
Pour 1 quart of vodka over the sugar, lemon juice and elderberries. Shake the jar to mix the ingredients together.
Place the jar in a cool, dark place, such as your cupboard. Allow the mixture to sit undisturbed for one month.
Pour the mixture through a strainer and into a bowl to remove the elderberries from the liqueur. You can also pour the mixture through a strainer with cheesecloth. Squeeze the mash mixture inside the cheesecloth to remove all the elderberry juice that you can. You can repeat the process to remove any fine particles.
Pour the liqueur back into the Mason jar or into another decorative container. The elderberry liqueur is now ready to drink and enjoy. Elderberry liqueur will keep for a very long time.