elderberry & brandy hot toddy - winter immune support

Elderberry Hot Toddy – Imbibe on This Boozy Wintertime Immunity Boost

This warming beverage is the perfect immune-boosting plant magic you need on a chilly fall or winter’s eve. It takes elderberry syrup, a longtime staple in the herbal apothecary, and enlivens it with some warming brandy. This elderberry hot toddy is the perfect campfire libation to warm your insides and help keep your body strong through the immune challenges of the cold and flu season.

elderberry & brandy hot toddy - winter immune support

No one quite knows when and where the hot toddy originated. One best guess is that it came from Scotland sometime back in the 1700s. There’s even debate on how it got its name. Regardless, there’s no question that the hot toddy has become one of the most popular cold-weather drinks.

Food as Medicine

The very foundation of this elderberry hot today rests on the magic of the elder tree, a plant with a long and fascinating history in folk medicine. Its flowers, berries, leaves, and bark were so widely used at one point that it was considered by many to be an entire pharmacy in itself. Likewise, herbal medicine and alcohol also have a long history.

Many of today’s modern plant formulas have distilled down from centuries of alcohol-based medicinal preparations, like Carmelite water and various cordials, that were once cure-alls for any and all ailments. Alcohol is a great preservative and you’ll often see elderberry syrup that includes alcohol or tincture for this very reason: shelf-stability.

This elderberry hot toddy provides all the medicinal benefits of elderberry, including its antiviral, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties.

ElderberryHigh in vitamins A & C (berries)
High in quercetin & bioflavonoids (that may
help reduce allergy symptoms)
Mild laxative
elderberry & brandy hot toddy - wintertime immune support

This recipe uses elderberry syrup made with local honey, apple cider vinegar, and other immune-boosting plants such as cinnamon, ginger, echinacea, and cardamom. You can find the recipe here or you can use your own.

Many natural food stores, local grocery co-ops, and even some mainstream pharmacies stock their shelves with elderberry syrup. If you’re able, supporting your local herbalists and medicine makers is always appreciated. And if elderberry is abundant where you live, making your own is fun, easy, and incredibly empowering.

For more plant magic & herbal wellness in your life, be sure to follow along on ➡️ Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter, & snag my herbal 📚 eBooks Nourishing Herbal Gifts & Holiday Pies from the (Un)Bakery. 🌿 And please don’t forget to tag me in your snaps 📸 @_botanyculture_. I love to see all the plant magic you make happen!

elderberry syrup hot toddy

Recipe by Botany CultureCourse: DrinksDifficulty: Easy


Prep time



Cuddle up under a blanket next to the fire with this warming, herbal concoction that has all the immune-boosting benefits of elderberry. This is the perfect drink for a chilly autumn eve or after a long day of play in the snow. You can use any elderberry syrup or even elderberry juice. If using juice, add honey or sweetener of your choice to sweeten to your taste. Throw a slice of fresh or dried orange on top for a little extra yum.


  • 1 1/2 oz. brandy (bourbon, whisky, or dark rum works well too)

  • 2 oz. elderberry syrup

  • 8 oz. hot water

  • additional honey or sweetener of choice (optional)


  • Heat water to just a boil.
  • While water is heating, add brandy and elderberry syrup to your favorite mug.
  • Add hot water and stir to combine.
  • If desired, add additional sweetener. Garnish with a lemon or orange slice. Sit back, sip, and enjoy this warming, immune-boosting beverage.

Wishing you a winter free of coughs, sneezes, fevers, and all other things generally unpleasant. To your utmost health! All. Year. Long.

DISCLAIMER: The information given in this article is intended for educational purposes only. Always consult with your healthcare practitioner before consuming certain herbs & medicinal foods, especially if pregnant, nursing, or taking any prescription medications.

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