Chocolate Elderberry Syrup

Nature gives us clues all the time and a recent elderberry harvest demonstrated her perfect “back to school” message! The immune system is a dynamic and complex system that can nurtured in any season, and this Chocolate Elderberry Syrup is a very tasty and fun way to prime both our systems and those of our kids.*

I used our own dried elderberries in this recipe, which were combined with other immune-enhancing* ingredients such as dried raisins, dates, and honey. Since elderberries taste pungent and slightly astringent, they are not the tastiest, and therefore, commercial elderberry syrups are often made with sugar. While a spoonful of sugar does make the medicine go down… delightfully, it can suppress our immune system rather than boost it. Ayurveda’s ancient system of medicine has a unique category of foods, known as “Amrit” which originates from Sanskrit, meaning “nectar of immortality” and includes ghee, dates, raisins, and honey. This recipe is inspired also by the biodynamic raisin syrup that we lovingly prepare at OWH for use in our Biodynamic Herbal Tonics. Some optional spices I added include cardamom and ginger to help the body digest the sweetness and balance the cooling elderberries.* Just for fun, and because chocolate is such a great antioxidant and is known for its immune-regulating properties, I added cocoa powder. Not only did this enhance the flavor but also provided the bitter flavor that we are often missing in our diet.

The syrup has a consistency between maple syrup and honey and can be taken as-is directly (be sure not to eat the whole batch) or even used as syrup on pancakes or ice cream, in yogurt, or even used to make a milkshake. A good daily dose of goodness would be about 1 tablespoon and ½ a tablespoon for the smaller people. Recipe makes one and a half cups.

1 cup of dried elderberries
1 cup of raisins
1 cup of roughly chopped dates (about 12)
5 cardamom pods (optional)
½ teaspoon of dried ginger (optional)
¾ cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
2 ½ cups + 2 cups of water
½ cup of raw honey


  1. Combine the elderberries, raisins, and dates and place them in a bowl. Add 2 ½ cups of boiled water, cover, and soak overnight (or at least 4 hours).
  2. Add all the rehydrated fruit (and the remaining liquid from the soaked fruit) to a pan.
  3. Add another 2 cups of water along with the spices, cover, and heat until boiling.
  4. Turn down to a simmer, stir occasionally, and cook for 20 minutes.
  5. Carefully strain the solids, discard them, and return the liquid to a pan.
  6. Add the cocoa powder, and stir to mix the powder within the liquid.
  7. Boil again and reduce to a simmer for about 5 minutes, or until the liquid becomes slightly thicker. You should end up with about one cup.
  8. Remove from the heat. Once cooled, add ½ cup of honey (or to taste).
  9. Place in a clean jar and refrigerate. Use within two weeks.

Joanne Roberts,
Product Development Scientist


About Joanne Roberts

With over 29 years of experience in supplement formulation and quality control, Jo is passionate about gardening, herbs, and nutrition and enjoys sharing her creations in her free time with loved ones. She is an avid adventurer who finds solace in the forest or bonding with her dog, goats, and chickens. Additionally, she is a mom, author, Ayurvedic Health Counselor, and is currently in the process of becoming an Ayurvedic Practitioner. Fueled by her own health journey, she is devoted to imparting the transformational wisdom of nature through the holistic art and science of Yoga and Ayurveda.