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This year was not traditional, so maybe your New Year's Eve libation doesn't need to be either. Instead of champagne or a mighty strong cocktail that leaves you depleted and disconnected to your 2021 visions, try out this pair of herbal mocktail libations. Their creator—Sakara Wellness Coach, herbal student, and food alchemist, Sasha Pagni—chose functional ingredients that celebrate the depths of winter. The first is an immune defense spritzer using homemade elderberry syrup, while the second is lovingly dubbed The Forest Bather. It's a vitamin C-rich cider with pine, rosehips, and medicinal mushrooms, all designed to protect your natural collagen stores. Maintain skin radiance and buoyancy, keep your hormones and immunity strong, and sail into this year with a fresh perspective. 


"This elixir in enlivening and invigorating in taste and energy. The ginger and lemon combined with the sparkling water is strong, so feel free to add more sweetener. This recipe is immune-stimulating and antiviral, with spotlights on elderberry and ginger—to keep your systems’ defenses ready for anything."—Sasha



  1. In a glass, place 2 tablespoons of elderberry syrup (see below for recipe), squeeze a lemon wedge into the glass, and pour over ⅓ cup ginger tea (see below for recipe). Top off the remainder of the glass with sparkling water of choice.

Elderberry syrup


  • ½ cup dried elderberries
  • ½ cup dried medicinal mushrooms (recommended: reishi, turkey tail, or chaga)
  • ¾ cup honey (vegan sub: organic glycerin or maple syrup)
  • ¼ lemon
  • ¾ cup sparkling water
  • ¾ cup brandy (or another spirit of choice, vodka, gin, etc) Note: if alcohol is not in alignment, you can leave it out completely but then the tonic will not store long-term and will need to be kept in the fridge and used within a month. Note: you will only be consuming 1-2 tablespoons of syrup at a time and the alcohol is present only for preservation purposes. 


  1. In a pot, combine dried elderberry, medicinal mushrooms, and 6 cups of water. 
  2. Turn the heat to low and let it slowly heat and decoct for one to two hours until the elderberries and mushrooms have reduced and excess water has evaporated, leaving roughly 1-1 ½  cups of liquid, total. Stir often and add more water if the water is evaporating quickly. 
  3. With a mesh strainer, pour the elderberry-mushroom mixture into the strainer over a large bowl. With your hands or a spoon, push down on the elderberry and mushrooms to get as much liquid as possible out. 
  4. Pour the liquid only, back into the pot and with the heat off, and stir in the honey. Turn the heat on low and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring often. 
  5. Turn the heat off and let the mixture cool for 10 minutes, then pour in the brandy.
  6. Pour the mixture into a clean mason jar or bottle and store in a cool, dark place for up to a year.

Ginger Tea


  • 2 teaspoons powdered ginger or 2-inch knob of fresh ginger


  1. Blend together one cup of hot water with ginger root or powder for one minute, strain out any fibrous parts. Cool before using.



"This will make the whole house smell like a cabin in the woods. Pine and rosehips are high in vitamin C, which build and protect collagen, while the medicinal mushrooms are powerful adaptogens to help keep your body and mind grounded. If you want to elevate the drink even further, light a small wood chip or pine branch, blow it out and add it to your brew for a smoky, woodsy element."—Sasha


  • 1 cup untreated Pine needles or Fir needles (can substitute with Douglas Fir Tea)
  • ¼ cup whole cranberries 
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 whole pod vanilla bean 
  • 1 small orange, peel intact
  • 2 apples
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 6 cloves (can substitute with ½ teaspoon ground cloves)
  • 1 handful dried medicinal mushrooms of choice (suggested: reishi, turkey tail, shiitake, lion's mane)
  • 1-inch turmeric knob 
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract 
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • Dash of cinnamon and nutmeg powder, to taste
  • smoked salt (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons rosehips (optional)



  1. Place pine needles, cranberries, cinnamon sticks, vanilla bean pod, orange, orange peel, apples, star anise, cloves, medicinal mushrooms, turmeric, and rosehips in a pot and cover with water, at least 8 cups.
  2. Turn stove on lowest heat, cover pot with lid, and let gently cook for 2-6 hours, stirring occasionally (the longer you brew it, the he stronger the taste)
  3. Once brewed to your liking, turn off the heat, strain out all ingredients making sure to press down on the apples and oranges to get as much liquid as possible. Once squeezed and strained, pour all liquid back into the pot.
  4.  In the pot, stir in vanilla extract, maple syrup, and additional warming spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg. Taste and adjust as needed, adding more maple or more spice to your liking. 
  5. Serve heated, in a glass with an optional cinnamon stick, orange peel, and a smoked salt rim.






Filed Under: Recipes

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