Pontack Sauce Bottle
October 19, 2021

Pontack Sauce Recipe

Pontack Sauce / Elderberry Ketchup Recipe

During episode 4 of the Hairy Bikers Go North, Chris Bax uses “Pontack Sauce” as a dressing on his cured venison with pickled brambles. Missed it? You can watch it again here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episodes/m000zypn/the-hairy-bikers-go-north Taste the Wild is featured during the last ten minutes, but we would recommend watching the whole episode of The North York Moors and even the whole series across the North of England.

Some of you have been asking more about Pontack Sauce aka Elderberry Ketchup, so I’ve revised our original post, with new photographs, hopefully in time for you to make some and enjoy in a few months time (if it lasts that long without being eaten).

Pontack sauce is an old traditional recipe named after ‘The Pontack’s Head’  a restaurant in London in the 17th Century. It has a good strong flavour, I think it’s a little bit like HP Sauce. Ideally keep it for a few months before using, as the flavours mellow. It goes especially well with cold meats and game but you can also use it to add a fruity richness to gravies or sauces.

  • Elderberries Use fork to clear berries Ingredients Ingredients Cooking Sieve What's left



  • 500g elderberries (washed and stalks removed)
  • 250ml white wine vinegar
  • 250ml balsamic vinegar
  • 1 red onion chopped
  • 15g fresh root ginger bruised
  • 1tsp ground allspice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 170g demerara sugar

There are various versions of this recipe in books and online, so don’t be afraid to swop a few ingredients and see what difference it makes to the finish product. Some suggest using just cider vinegar and no sugar whilst others add cloves and peppercorns.


Put all the ingredients, apart from the sugar, into a heavy based saucepan and cook on a low heat for 2 hours or place in a very low oven for 6 hours or overnight. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh seive into a clean pan, squashing as much through as possible. Add the sugar and bring to the boil. Cook for 10 minutes and pour into sterilised bottles or jars.

We hope you like it!


You can find out more about Pontack here:
Lost London – Pontack’s…


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.