If you’re interested in making a unique alcoholic drink with average ABV, elderberry wine is definitely worth considering. You can use both common and red elderberries and even elderflowers. This article goes over the two well-proven wine making methods as well as the recipes with all their intricacies. These homemade drinks won’t disappoint you.
Keep in mind that all containers used should be steamed or sterilized with boiling water and then wiped dry. This will protect the must from pathogens.
It’s best to avoid mixing common and red elderberries. Make two separate drinks from them.
Elderberry Wine Recipe
- Elderberries – 3 kilos
- Water – 3 liters
- Sugar – 1 kilo
- 4 buds of cloves (optional)
- Citric acid – 5 grams
- Raisins – 100 grams
Wash the elderberries well, remove the stems and crush in any way possible. Add citric acid and 100 grams of sugar. Steam the obtained mixture in 2 liters of boiling water, stir, and simmer for 15 minutes. Cool the mixture to room temperature. Strain the juice, throw out the pulp, and pour the juice in a fermentation container.
Prepare a syrup with water and sugar, cool it to room temperature. Mix the syrup with the juice and add the ferment (unwashed raisins or wine yeast) and cloves. Attach an airlock or a medical glove to the container. Move it to a dark place with a temperature of 18-25 °C. After the fermentation process has ended (airlock is no longer bubbling, the wine’s brighter, there’s sediment at the bottom), decant the young wine and strain it through cheesecloth. You can add sugar to taste or vodka (ethanol) to increase potency—2-15% of the volume.
Bottle the wine filling up the bottles to the brim and age it for a few months in a dark place with a temperature of 6-16 °C. Once the sediment falls out decant the wine into another container through a tube, leaving the sediment at the bottom.
Homemade elderberry wine has ABV of 11-12% and can be stored for up to 3 years.
Elderflower Wine Recipe
Elderflowers can be used to make wine as well, but in the recipe described below, they are used for aromatization because squeezing pure juice from the petals at home is impossible.
- 10 elderflowers
- Sugar – 1 kilo
- Water – 4 liters
- 1 average-sized lemon
- Raisins – 100 grams (or wine yeast)
You can use 5-7 grams of citric acid instead of a lemon. This is required to increase the acidity for proper fermentation. If you don’t have wine yeast, prepare a raisin ferment 3-4 days before working with the flowers.
Wash the collected elderflowers in cold water. Cook a sugar syrup using 4 liters of water and 0.5 kilos of sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil, cook for 3-5 minutes, skimming off the foam. Pour the flowers with the hot syrup, add 1 chopped lemon with peel and without the seeds. Cool it to room temperature.
Add wine yeast or the ferment to the must, tie the neck of the container with cheesecloth and leave in a warm dark place at 18-26 °C for fermentation. Stir the mixture with a clean wooden stick once a day. After 3-4 days, strain the must through cheesecloth or a strainer and squeeze the pulp well. Decan the yet to be homemade elderflower wine into the fermentation container (fill it up to at least 75%), attach the airlock and leave it for refermentation under the same conditions. After 5 days add the remaining sugar (0.5 kilos) by first decanting 0.5 liters of the must, diluting sugar in it, pouring the syrup back in, and attaching the airlock once again.
Once fermentation has finished, bottle the wine and cork the bottles. You can sweeten your elderflower wine with sugar or fortify it with vodka (2-15% of the volume). After a few weeks of aging in a cold dark place (a fridge or cellar), the drink will be ready.
Elderflower wine is drastically different from elderberry wine—it’s an oaky pale wine that is easily drinkable. It has 10-12% ABV and can be stored for up to 2 years.
Elderberry wine is a unique drink with average potency. Learn how to make homemade wine using both common and red elderberries as well as elderflowers!