Rowan Berry Syrup

 Rowan Berry Syrup

Rowan Berry Syrup is a wonderful addition for cocktails, tea, and many other things. It has a complex flavour profile being sweet, tart, and pleasantly bitter at the same time. It also has many health benefits.

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 Rowan Berry Syrup

Hurricane Fiona

Hello everyone! I hope you are doing well.

You probably heard that three weeks ago Atlantic Canada was hit by a hurricane Fiona quite strongly. Prince Edward Island and parts of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland suffered devastating damage. Three weeks have passed, but few thousands of people still don’t have power in their houses.

We didn’t have any significant damage. Luckily, we have removed many trees around our property over the last two years. Otherwise, we would have probably ended up having some of them down.

Rowan Berry Syrup

But since the storm / hurricane was expected to be strong, everyone had prepared to be without power for a while. Besides some basic stuff (Like water supply, charged devices, and so on), I prepared, too. I found some frozen rowan berries I collected last year to use as my props. I thought they would be wasted if we were to lose power for a long time. So, I quickly decided to make this Rowan Berry Syrup just a couple of hours before the storm and us losing the electricity.

This allowed me to kill some time (photographing) during the weekend and also use up the berries. I also end up having two new recipes. Yup, stay tuned to see what I made with this syrup. Spoiler alert: it’s a cocktail!

Rowan Berries

Many of you probably are not familiar with rowan berries, also known as dogberries in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. You can check some recipes with more information about them on my blog: Rowan Berries Apple Jam, Rowan Berries Orange Curd, and Rowan Berries Apple Bacon Sauce.

Rowan berries have a lot of health benefits including being an anti-inflammatory remedy and the ability to boost the immune system (The berries are packed with vitamin C) However, as always, before consumption, you should make research because berries are not recommended for people with certain conditions.

Please also note raw berries are considered slightly poisonous, and they may cause nausea and upset stomach if consumed in large quantities. But I doubt anyone could consume a lot of raw rowan berries. They are biter due to tannins.

How to Make Them Less Bitter?

How to make these pretty berries more pleasant? First way is freezing them. You can wait until first frosts to collect them (If birds didn’t eat everything before!) Or you can simply freeze them overnight. The second way would be boiling berries for a minute or so then discarding the water – and also discarding the released bitter juices. You can use either of these methods or even both of them if you have berries that are super bitter. In my case, I used both methods because I found the frozen berries being still quite bitter.

As I already said, you can use this syrup as you would use any other infused syrup. Personally, I think its pleasant bitterness works the best as the addition to tea and cocktails.

And by the way, don’t be concerned about this little foaming. I couldn’t decide on the props, so I ended by trying few different resulting in this foam :)

I hope you like this Rowan Berry Syrup, and you will give it a try soon. If you try it, let me know in this post or send me an Instagram message or share your photos adding the hashtag #havocinthekitchen.


 Rowan Berry Syrup
 Rowan Berry Syrup

Rowan Berry Syrup

Recipe by Ben | HavocinthekitchenCourse: Syrup, Rowan Berries, Dogberries

1 1/2

Cooking time


Freezing time


Cooling / Infusing



This Rowan Berry Syrup is a wonderful addition for cocktails, tea, and many other things. It has a complex flavour profile being sweet, tart, and pleasantly bitter at the same time. It also has many health benefits.


  • 1 and 1/2 cup rowan berries

  • 1 cup sugar


  • First you need to pick rowan berries; cut clusters of berries from trees and knock to remove insects, then wash and pick off stems. When foraging, always go for the bright red berries as these are ripe and will come away from the little twigs easily. Also, collect them in the forested areas far from roads.
  • Fresh rowan berries, even ripe and red, could be very bitter due to tannins. To reduce the bitterness, freeze berries over night or even better for 24 hours. Then try to check how bitter they still are. If the bitterness is subtle and pleasant, you can skip next step and proceed to step four. If they are still quite bitter, proceed to step three.
  • Place about 3 cups of water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the frozen berries and boil for about 2 minutes. Off heat and using a large strainer or colander, drain.
  • Place the berries back to the saucepan and add one cup of fresh water along with the sugar. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Off heat and let it cool and infuse for about 20 minutes. Using a potato masher, mash the berries to release as much juices as possible. Then using a strainer, discard the berries. Transfer the syrup to a jar or container and keep refrigerated for up to one week. Enjoy!

8 thoughts on “Rowan Berry Syrup

  1. John Gatesby says:

    Rowan Berry Syrup sounds like a delightful addition to any kitchen, with its unique blend of sweet, tart, and bitter flavors. It’s impressive that it also offers health benefits, particularly its anti-inflammatory properties and high vitamin C content. I appreciate the tips on reducing bitterness and the versatile uses for the syrup in cocktails and teas. Can’t wait to try making this at home!
    John Gatesby recently posted…Signs and Symptoms of Dysautonomia (Autonomic Dysfunction)My Profile

  2. Éva Taylor says:

    I am glad to read that Fiona did not cause much damage, I cannot imagine how frightening it was. Great idea to use the frozen berries in a syrup, it has such a beautiful colour. The bitter flavour would definitely be a nice addition in some sweet cocktails.

  3. David @ Spiced says:

    Interesting recipe, Ben! And great use of some freezer stock before the storm rolled in. If I recall, Fiona was rolling into Canada around the same time Ian was hitting the southern US. I’m glad to hear you guys didn’t have any damage!

    I’m not familiar much with rowan berries, but the tart+ sweet would indeed be good in a cocktail. I’m thinking something like a spritz since those call for blood oranges??
    David @ Spiced recently posted…Charleston Red RiceMy Profile

  4. Michelle says:

    Glad you guys didn’t have too much damage from Fiona. I’ve never heard of rowan berries til now, but they have such a beautiful striking colour!

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