Make it Yourself #MIY: Raise a glass to homemade

Make/do isn’t just about needles & thread. We also love to get busy in the kitchen (Julie is the Queen of Baking) and to get out in the garden…

Make/do something new this weekend – Make ginger beer, lemon & elderflower cordial from scratch. Really easy and very impressive to serve to friends.

Here are some ideas for fresh and delicious summer drinks to serve at a garden party, or just to have ready in the fridge… These cooling beverages are just as easy to make in small quantities as large – so if you are just having a summer garden party, you can get stuck into making scrummy drinks for your guests:

Homemade Ginger Beer – serves 8
1/2 tsp yeast
1 lemon – juice and rind
2tbsp grated root ginger
1 cup sugar
2l bottle

Add all the ingredients to a 2l bottle (an empty lemonade bottle works perfectly – but make sure it has a sturdy lid. many water bottles have short lids which have a tendancy to pop off when the pressure gets too high) and add a couple of cups of water. Shake well until the sugar is dissolved. Fill the bottle to about 2″ below the top, put the lid on really tight and leave the bottle somewhere warm for a couple of days or until the bottle goes rock solid. To stop the fermenting, pop the bottle into the fridge to chill. You will need to be really careful when you open the bottle that it doesn’t fiz everywhere… When you are ready to serve, strain the liquid into glasses with ice and garnish with slices of lime, or sprigs of mint.

If you want to make lashings and lashings of ginger beer for summer adventures, then buy those large waterbottles from the supermarket and multiply the ingredients in proportion to their size. You may need to leave more than 2″ space at the top to allow for more expansion.

Raspberry lemonade
The easiest way to do this is just to crush handfulls of raspberries and add to bought-lemonade. Add a few whole raspberries per glass for garnish.

As usual, my mum is the absolute authority on all things homemade and recipes. Here are two scruptious drinks I remember from my early days…

lemonadeBasic lemonade
This recipe isn’t fizzy but delicious non-the-less. It makes a cordial that is much easier to transport or store (or freeze!) and then add chilled water & ice.

1.5 lb sugar
1/2 oz citric acid & 1 tsp /tartaric acid  (get them from your local chemist)
Put into a large basin and add 3 pts boiling water. Stir well until sugar has melted
Add juice of 3 lemons + strips of rind from 2. Leave overnight, strain & bottle

You can sterilise bottles & lids and keep the cordial in cool cupboard, but it also stores in fridge for a couple of weeks or in washed-out milk cartons in freezer if you want to make it in advance.

Elderflower Cordial
The smell of the elderflowers in hedgerows at this time of year is overpowering. Pick a few flower heads to make a delicious alternative to (and a lot cheaper than) ‘Green Bottle’

3lb sugar
2pts boiling water
2oz citric acid
2 medium lemons sliced
stir well until sugar has melted, then stir in 20 large young elderflower heads (shake to release any insects!). Leave overnight, strain & bottle. Storage as per the lemonade above.

To sterilise bottles to keep the cordials in if you are making in advance: Simply wash glass bottles and their lids really well and put in boiling water. After a few minutes place them on a baking tray in the oven to get rid of any germs. Take them out and leave to cool before pouring the cordial in.

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