For centuries, people have enjoyed drinking elixirs–special herbs soaked in wine, beer, or cider. This is a process called mulling, where herbs and spices are infused into wine, beer, or cider through heat and rest. For a long time, mulled drinks had two purposes. One was to disguise and improve the flavor of cheap wine. The second purpose was, as written about by the ancient Greeks, to be used as medicines. Now, today, we drink mulled wine because it’s delicious and fun to do around the holiday season. But there’s no reason why a delicious drink can’t also be good for you.

This Elderberry Mulled Cider includes warming spices like cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and nutmeg. And it also uses elderberries and astragalus to help improve your immune system. Elderberries (dried and fresh) are filled with amino acids, fiber, potassium, trace minerals, vitamins A & B, and tons of Vitamin C. Astragalus, an herb you can purchase in powdered form, has been shown to help prevent colds and upper respiratory infections, lower blood pressure, treat diabetes, and protect the liver. Astragalus also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Both dried elderberries and astragalus are available on Amazon and in most health food stores.

Because mulled drinks were prized by the early American colonists, Sarah Munro, (my PhD historian and heroine in book 2 of the Deadly Force series, ONE DARK WISH), has added Elderberry Mulled Cider to her collection of DIY herbal recipes. 

Sarah Munro’s Elderberry Mulled Cider


  • 4 cups apple cider
  • 1/8 cup elderberries (fresh or dried)
  • 4 Cassia cinnamon sticks, broken in half
  • 1 Tablespoon dried lemon peel
  • 1 Tablespoon powdered astragalus root
  • 1/2 Tablespoon allspice
  • 3/4 teaspoon whole cloves
  • dash of nutmeg
  • 3 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • Garnish with cinnamon sticks or orange spices


Place a heavy-bottomed saucepan on the stove. Pour in the cider and then then stir in all of the other ingredients. Cover the saucepan and over a low-medium heat, bring the cider to a boil. Lower the heat until the cider is just simmering. Simmer for 30 minutes making sure to keep the cider covered.

Remove the pot from the heat and all to rest, uncovered for 15 minutes. Strain the cider into a 4-quart glass measuring cup. Stir the cider and pour into four mugs. Garnish the cider with a cinnamon stick or an orange slice/clementine wedge.

The unused cider will keep for two days if stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. To serve, reheat on the stove or in the microwave.


I am not a medical professional and nothing written on this blog is medical advice. None of my statements have been evaluated by the FDA (I am legally required to give you this disclaimer).

It is important to do your due diligence before foraging, harvesting, and/or consuming any type of medicinal plant.

  • If you are taking any medications, talk to your doctor about any potential drug interactions.
  • If you are allergic to anything, make sure whatever you are foraging is not in the same family. Example: While dandelions are typically considered safe, those who are allergic to ragweed, latex, daisies, or any other plants in the same or similar families, may not be able to consume dandelion.

Always research potential side effectsdosage recommendations, and how to properly prepare and consume each medicinal plant.

Always make sure you are foraging what you believe to be. Fully prepare and study the anatomy before harvesting wild plants.

Always make sure your kitchen/work area is clean and that all materials are sterilized.

Do not forage plants from areas that have been sprayed within the past 2 years at the very least.

I am not legally or morally responsible for the health of any of my readers. Please do your own research!

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