How To Make Fizzy Elderberry Soda

Heather Dessinger

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Open bottle of fizzy elderberry soda

Fizzy elderberry soda is a delicious way to support immune function naturally, and I’m going to share with you two simple methods for making it. One is naturally fermented and chock-full of probiotics, and the other is a five minute version that you can make with elderberry syrup, sparkling water and an optional splash of citrus.

If you’ve ever made anything with elderberry before – gummiestea, syrup, even homemade jam – you probably already know all about its beneficial properties. It’s often taken daily (or nearly so) to support immune function during cold and flu season. Among its many benefits, elderberry is thought to have a positive impact on: 

  • Vitamin C Absorption – It contains bioflavonoids that help us absorb vitamin C, which is an essential nutrient for immune function and other processes like collagen synthesis. (1)
  • General Immune System Support – Studies done in NorwayAustralia and Israel found that participants experiencing cold and flu symptoms felt better sooner (and had milder symptoms) when they received elderberry extract.
  • Respiratory Health – According to The Herbal Apothecary, “Elder is supportive to the respiratory system, with its ability to open the body, induce mild sweating (flower and leaves), reduce fever” and support the body’s natural clearance of phlegm.
  • Antioxidant Status– Contain a flavonoid called anthocyanin, which has antioxidant and immune supporting properties. (2)
Bubbly elderberry soda in swing-top bottles

Two Methods for Making Elderberry Soda

If you’ve got elderberry syrup and a sparkling mineral water like S. Pellegrino on hand, you can make elderberry soda in two shakes of a lamb’s tail. La Croix will work, too – check the notes section of the recipe below for full instructions. 

A second option is to make probiotic-rich elderberry soda by fermenting it. It’s super easy with the help of a ginger bug starter, which can also be used to make homemade ginger ale and root beer.

If you’re not familiar with what a ginger bug is, it’s a living probiotic culture that’s made by feeding wild yeast and beneficial bacteria that naturally occur on the papery skin of ginger root. We named ours Yeasty Beasty. 

To make elderberry soda, all you do is mix the ginger bug with sweetened elderberry tea, pour the mixture into flip-top bottles, and let the carbonation build naturally for several days. Bottles with tight fitting lids (such as the flip-top bottles belos) are best for creating a pressurized seal that holds in the carbonation, so I recommend using them if you want fizzy soda.

Choosing Your Flip-Top Bottles

This soda recipe will fill approximately:

If you don’t have swing top bottles and prefer to use what you have on hand, opt for a jar that seals well when the lid is on.

Fido jars or Weck jars are a good option, but mason jars will work, too. Elderberry soda that is fermented in jars won’t be very fizzy (if at all), but it will still be probiotic-rich and delicious.

Close up of fizzy elderberry soda
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Probiotic-Rich Elderberry Soda Recipe

This fizzy elderberry soda is a delicious way to support immune function naturally.
Prep Time 1 hour
Servings 18
Calories 33kcal
Author Heather Dessinger

Equipment

  • See notes sections for suggested bottles

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Place the water, dried elderberries and sugar in a pot and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to low/med and simmer for 20 minutes, then remove from heat. Stir in the hibiscus (if using).  
  • Set the elderberry tea aside and allow it to cool to room temperature. Keep in mind that if it's too hot when you add the ginger bug, it will kill the beneficial yeast and bacteria needed for fermentation.
  • Place a mesh strainer over a bowl and pour mixture into it to separate the herbs from the liquid.
  • Measure the liquid and add filtered water as needed to bring it back to 8 cups.
  • Add the ginger bug and lime/lemon juice (if using) to the liquid and mix with a wooden spoon.
  • Pour the elderberry soda into flip-top bottles (leaving one inch of head space) and ferment for 3-6 days. During the fermentation process, you'll want to "burp" the bottles by opening them every 1-2 days so the carbonation doesn't build up too much. Some people have reported that their bottles exploded because they let them ferment for way too long without burping them. I've been making water kefir and other fermented sodas for years and have never had that happen, but I have forgotten about them for a few days and ended up with an extra fizzy bottle that poured out like champagne. I open my bottles on the deck by our kitchen now just in case. 🙂
  • The elderberry soda is ready when it's fizzy and not overly sweet. If you check it after a week and it's still too sweet, you can let it ferment for a bit longer so that the good guys can consume more of the sugar and turn them into probiotics.

Notes

This recipe will fill approximately 17-18 of these 4 ounce swing top bottles, 8-9 of the these 8.5 ounce swing top bottles or 4-5 of these larger swing-top bottles.
If you don’t have swing top bottles and prefer to use what you have on hand, opt for a jar that gets a good seal when the lid is on. Fido jars are a good option, but mason jars will work, too. Elderberry soda that is fermented in jars won’t be very fizzy (if at all), but it will still be probiotic-rich and delicious.

Nutrition

Calories: 33kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 6mg | Potassium: 14mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 25IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 1mg

How To Make 5 Minute Elderberry Soda With Sparkling Water

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1.5 teaspoons homemade elderberry syrup (Or pre-made. I like this kind which is made with organic elderberry and other clinically supported ingredients like marshmallow root and echinacea.)
  • 1 cup sparkling water (S. Pellegrino, Perrier and LaCroix will work)
  • squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice (Optional)

Instructions

Elderberry soda is most refreshing served cold, so I recommend either chilling the sparkling water in advance or serving it over ice. To make, just pour the sparkling water in a glass, add the elderberry syrup (and a squeeze of lemon or lime if you have it on hand) and stir until combined. Pour over ice if desired and serve. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use elderflower instead of elderberry?

Yes you can, but you’ll want to make the tea using a slightly different method. Roots and berries need to be simmered for awhile to extract their goodness, while flowers just need to be added to hot water.

To make elderflower tea, bring the water and sugar to a boil and remove the pot from heat. Stir the elderflowers in, place the lid on the pot, and allow the tea to cool to room temperature before straining. 

Can I use fresh elderberry juice instead of tea?

Uncooked elderberries contain a compound that can cause nausea and GI symptoms. Heat breaks down the compound so that it doesn’t cause issues, so I only recommend using tea.

Technically you could heat the fresh elderberry juice to deactivate the compound, but since I have not done it personally I can’t advise on the best approach.

homemade elderberry soda recipe

Sources

  1. Jones, E et. al. (1984) The influence of bioflavonoids on the absorption of vitamin C
  2. Özgen, Mustafa (2010) Total phenolic, anthocyanin contents and antioxidant capacity of selected elderberry (Sambucus canadensis L.) accessions

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About HEATHER

Heather is a holistic health educator, herbalist, DIYer, Lyme and mold warrior. Since founding Mommypotamus.com in 2009, Heather has been taking complicated health research and making it easy to understand. She shares tested natural recipes and herbal remedies with millions of naturally minded mamas around the world. 

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18 thoughts on “How To Make Fizzy Elderberry Soda”

  1. What do you know about bottling medicines??? I know that some properties are destroyed with heat but wouldn’t it be better to have than not at all??? Are there other means to preserve medicines for long term storage??? I love what you do. Thanks 🙂

    Reply
    • I’m making elderberry kombucha right now! I added elderberry syrup to my kombucha second fermentation in a bottle to create fizz. I can’t wait to try it.

      @ Stephanie honey is a great preservative and so is alcohol. How about vinegar? My top 3:)

      Reply
  2. I am intrigued, but before I buy flip top bottles, why won’t that fermented in jars be as fizzy as that which is fermented in the bottles?

    Reply
  3. The ginger bug project has been on my to-do list for awhile…maybe now I’ll finally get around to that!

    This seems like an awfully big batch…about how long do these last after the fermentation is complete and they are ready to drink? I’m assuming they’d last at least a short while in the fridge….but I am only JUST now starting to read about fermentation.

    Reply
  4. Any idea if I could make this using fresh elderberries? We have an elderberry bush that’s growing out back and I’d love to be able to use the fresh berries for things like this!

    Reply
  5. Can you do this with frozen elderberries? I have made soda before with the 2 liter plastic bottles that store bought soda comes in. Then I don’t worry about a bottle exploding. I’m excited to try this and make the ginger bug as I am learning to grow my own ginger.

    Reply
  6. Wish the comments below were answered.. can I use previous fresh, now frozen elderberries to make this wonderful drink?

    Reply
    • Hi Tamara, I frequently use fresh frozen elderberries to make elderberry syrup, no different from dried berries I’ve found. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  7. Hi Heather, just wondering if the sugar can be swapped with honey? I make my elderberry syrup with raw honey from our hives usually. Or would the ginger bug do better with the sugar? Thanks!

    Reply
  8. Just FYI: there are those who believe that when making anything with elderberries, adding some elderflowers ENHANCES the benefits.

    Reply
  9. You mentioned in your questions…can you use Elderberry juice? Is this terminology equivalent to Elderberry syrup? I have syrup & would like to make the soda. Could I use this & just add 8 cups of water with the ginger bug starter or is your 5-minute Elderberry Soda With Sparkling Water the recipe to use when your using syrup? It does leave out the ginger though, and I’d like to use that. Could you please explain?

    Reply
    • By elderberry juice I meant the liquid that is collected when fresh elderberries are processed by an at=home juicer. Elderberry syrup can be used to make fermented sodas but I haven’t used it that way so I don’t know what the ratios would be.

      Reply
  10. 5 stars
    Hello Heather,
    Thank you so much for the Elderberry recipe. I bought some dried Elderberries and am going to make a batch this morning. I wanted to let you know that the links to the different flip top bottles are no longer active. I have been fermenting my own Kombucha, water kefir and milk kefir for years and wanted to let you know that for ginger bug, Kombucha, and water kefir…when you second ferment it is best to decant into round flip-top bottles as the square ones are not as strong. They are adorable but when I did research years ago when I started my fermenting journey I read that the round-based flip-top bottles are stronger and safer than the square.
    Thank you again for all your great articles! I so look forward to opening your emails and pore over all of your ideas and articles.

    Reply