I bought The Meat Eater a copy of Booze for Free a few years ago. Not because he’s a big drinker but because I thought he’d like to make wine and stuff from things in the garden, and then I’d have a load of booze for free. So far he’s made elderberry wine (disgusting and got poured down the sink). cider (a disaster and got thrown away before it had finished fermenting or whatever it is it does), plum wine (lovely) and blackberry wine (even lovelier).
Although I’ve drunk everything he’s made (and I mean everything – he doesn’t like wine), I haven’t made anything myself because it involves buckets and demijohns and funnels and tablets and a whole bunch of other things that look complicated. So, when Emily Han’s publishers asked me if I’d like a copy of Emily’s book – Wild Drinks and Cocktails – my first thought was, ‘god no, I can’t be doing with all that faff’.
However, the drinks and cocktails in this book are faff-free and use only a few ingredients which you’ll either find in your garden, on a foraging expedition, local market or supermarket. For example, the only ingredients you need for the Rosemary Wine recipe are rosemary and wine and you can’t get much more simple than that.
The book isn’t just about alcohol though – there are plenty of syrups and cordials too. I had planned to make Cranberry Mors (cranberries, water, honey, lemon juice) but I don’t have a cranberry bush in the garden, and then I found out Tesco don’t sell fresh cranberries, so I scrapped that idea and made Strawberry Squash instead.
Rather inconveniently, strawberries don’t generally grow in UK gardens in November, so I bought some from Tesco (and although I said strawberries don’t generally grow in UK gardens in November, they grow somewhere in the UK in November as the strawberries I bought were British).
Strawberry Squash recipe (makes about 470ml)
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup (235ml) water
1 cup (200g) sugar
3/4 pound (340g) strawberries, hulled and quartered
Combine the lemon juice, water, and sugar in a saucepan. Bring to the boil over a medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Stir in the strawberries. Reduce the heat and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer, gently pressing on the strawberries to extract the liquid without forcing the pulp through the strainer. Discard the solids. Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
The squash was delicious and, with it being Saturday evening, I made a Cava cocktail with it.
The next day, I diluted the squash with water, which made a light, refreshing drink. I imagine it would be great with lemonade, too.
I love this book. There are so many drinks I want to try, such as Dandelion and Chicory Chai (water, ginger, dandelion root, chicory root, black peppercorns, cardamom pods, clove, cinnamon, milk and honey), Apple and Mint syrup (mint, apples, sugar, water), Figs and Vanilla Rum (figs, vanilla bean, rum) and Apple and Sage Wine (apple, sage, honey, vodka, wine).
As you can see, there’s a wide variety of drinks here and Wild Drinks and Cocktails will definitely appeal to foragers, but if foraging’s not your thing, you should be able to find the ingredients easily enough in the shops.
Giveaway: Win a copy of Wild Drinks and Cocktails by Emily Han
If you’d like a copy of Emily’s book, just enter below via Rafflecopter. Good luck!
Wild Drinks and Cocktails by Emily Han is published by Fair Winds Press with a cover price of £14.99.
Thanks go to Fair Winds Press for my copy of the book and also for providing one to give away.