I love making our drinks from scratch. In summer I always have a few concoctions ready and waiting in the fridge, along with cold water and ice cubes. Whoever visits is offered "tea, coffee, water or cordial?" In the midst of summer, most of our visitors choose the cordial. We're lucky to have a prolific lemon tree and when I'm organised in winter, when the main lemon season is here, I strip the tree and freeze several bottles of pure lemon juice. In spring and summer, it is used to make lemon cordial.
This year I didn't have much time so we still have about 30 lemons on the tree and they'll be my source of lemon juice for the cordial in the next month. However, I've just made a raspberry cordial, mainly for Hanno because he's been feeling nauseated and poorly, but the cordial is so delicious, it's already part of our summer drink selection.
I bought a box of frozen raspberries from Aldi - they'd been marked down because of damaged packaging and I paid $3 for 500 grams. To make up the cordial, I defrosted the berries and made up a weak sugar syrup - two cups of sugar to five cups of water. I added the juice of one lemon, added some of the sugar syrup to the berries and blitzed them with a stick blender. Most people strain their berry cordials but I like to leave the fibre in, so when the berries were a thick mush, I added them to the syrup and mixed it well. The cordial is made by using a small amount of the raspberry concentrate and diluting it with cold water; serve with ice. It's also a delicious spritz made with sparkling mineral water.
I still have half a bottle of elder cordial left in the fridge from last season. It's fine to drink and now it's warmer again, no doubt that will be finished off soon. Our elder tree is flowering beatifully at the moment so there'll be another elder cordial session coming up soon.
My other summer standby is ginger beer. It's a naturally fermented drink and I've just started one which will be ready for drinking in about ten days. It's fizzy and spicy and delicious served cold. It also contains all those probiotics so it's going to do Hanno some good after being on antibiotics these past couple of weeks.
When I was out at one of my events, I met a lady who gave me a recipe for alcoholic lemon wine. I'll be making that soon too and will let you know how it goes.
Making your own drinks will help you cut out all those preservatives, colourings and additives that are in almost all soft drinks and soda pop. There are many cordials to be made using fruit commonly grown in backyards and ginger beer is made using either fresh ginger or dried ginger spice you buy at the supermarket. And they're all quick and easy. If you haven't done this before, start by collecting glass bottles that have a good seal - so you'll be recycling as well. The sugar contained in the drink acts as a preservative as well as a sweetener, so your drinks will safely sit in the fridge over summer, if they last that long.
What drinks do you make from scratch?