Foraged Cocktails: The Elderberry Sour

Health and wellness inspired wilderness cocktail

From the garden to the glass, why forage for local plants.

Foraging is simply the art of searching for food.  The Sierra Nevada mountains (Garden to Glass is based in Lake Tahoe) are an abundant resource filled with countless varieties of edible and medicinal wild plants.  We realized many traditional cocktail recipes call for ingredients that can be found naturally growing in our backyard. 

Instead of ordering, we opted to forage.  Not only are we getting the freshest beverage ingredients possible, but we know exactly how they were grown and where they came from.  Plus, we eliminated unnecessary packaging from shipping! This is our experience with one of our favorite ingredients, the elderberry.

garden to glass foraged fresh berries


The Elderberry: A historic elixir

To say the elder shrub (sambucus) is deep rooted in world history is an understatement.  With mentions of the plant dating back to the retreating ice age in 9000 bc, the elder has been used by cultures throughout human history.  For those of you interested in learning everything about elder, An Herb Society of America has a fantastic comprehensive guide to the history, folklore, and medicinal uses of elder.  Its a great read, and if you make it through, you might feel like an elderberry aficionado.

garden to glass cocktail fresh berries

Health benefits of elderberry

The health and wellness benefits of elderberry have led to many medicinal uses for berries, flowers, and leaves.  Legend has it elderberry wine causes longevity.  Elderflowers are commonly used for healing teas. For more information on incorporating elder, here’s a great list of health and wellness uses.

As a medicine, juice or We decided a classic elderberry variation of a sour was in order.

Recipe for elderberry sour cocktail

Elderberry Sour
3/4 oz Elderberry Cordial
1/2 oz Fresh Lemon
2 oz Botanical Gin or Vodka
Put cordial, juice and gin in a shaker with ice. Shake for 30 seconds, then strain mixture into a chilled Nick & Nora glass.  Garnish with fresh elderberries.
Elderberry Cordial
1/2 cup Fresh Elderberries
1 cup Water
1/3 cup Local honey
Bring water to a boil, then add elderberries and turn heat to medium-low.  Let berries simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Pour mix through a fine strainer and use a metal spoon to smash remaining juice from berries collected in strainer.
Stir in honey until dissolved.
Store in a tightly sealed container in a refrigerator for up to 1 month.

How to make elderberry cocktails

The best cocktails require the right equipment.  If your home bar is not stocked with the right gear, check out some of our favorite cocktail making necessities below.  Cheers!

Manual Citrus Press

Japanese Jigger 2/1 oz

Boston Shaker Tin Set

Hawthorne, Julep & Sifter

Follow, like & share

  @fresh.cocktails   @gardentoglassmixology


(619) 977-7593