This is a beautiful, deep purple schnapps that is so simple to make with either fresh or frozen elderberries. If you add it to drinks that are acidic (like lemonade) it turns them a gorgeous pink. See the directions at the bottom of the recipe to use dried elderberries.
You make elderberry schnapps in a similar way to elderberry liqueur (the recipe for elderberry liqueur is in the book too), but no sugar is used for elderberry schnapps and the berries are frozen first. This is said to improve their sweetness (I can’t tell much difference, to be honest). Schnapps recipes also use far more elderberries and far less vodka than liqueurs.
You can serve elderberry schnapps at room temperature (it’s potent!) or mix it in cocktails.
One pint jar of fresh elderberries, cleaned and stems removed, frozen for at least a week
80 proof vodka
1. Remove your jar of frozen elderberries from the freezer and pour in vodka, just to cover the berries.
2. Put the lid tightly on the container and shake. Put aside and let steep in a dark place for 1-4 weeks, shaking periodically.
3. Strain through a muslin-lined strainer, pressing to remove all of the juice from the berries, into a clean glass container with a tight fitting lid.
4. Allow to age in a cool, dark place for at least 2 more months before using.
To use dried elderberries: Fill a pint jar 1/3 full of dried elderberries. Fill the jar the rest of the way with vodka (leaving one inch of head space) and freeze for one week. Then proceed with steps 2-4.
Yeah, I like to take an occasional shot and just call it medicinal. :) It is not that different from elderberry tincture, after all. This time of year we always have elderberry syrup in the fridge, too, and the kids and I do a morning spoonful of that.
And yes, it makes a really nice gift. It's potent though. You can dilute the recipe with simple syrup (dissolved sugar in water) to make a milder, sweeter elderberry liqueur that's nice for sipping straight.