Summer may almost be over but the garden is still overflowing with green herbs and the countryside beginning to put on a show of wild berries. Use them to create truly beautiful drinks to serve at your next gathering including Refreshing Mint Cooler, Blackberry + Honey Fizz, and Lavender Champagne (recipes below).
Many fresh greens, berries, and even flowers can be used to create refreshing and summery drinks of both the merry and alcohol-free varieties. They can be muddled, meaning crushed, infused into water, similar to making tea, infused into alcohol, which will take about a week, or simply served up as a garnish.
Common produce you’ll find growing in the garden or in the hedgerows right now include Mint, Lemon Balm, Thyme, Lavender, Blackberries, Raspberries, Calendula, Rosemary, Elderberries, Sage, and Basil. Pairing them with the right flavours can seem like the challenging part but experimenting can be fun! Mint goes well with citrus, Blackberries in sweet drinks, and Lavender has a flavour that stands on its own but can also be paired with other flavours like lemon or rose water.
Another beautiful way to use these gems from nature is to crystallise them in ice. If you use pre-boiled and then cooled water when making ice cubes, the ice will be clear and will display the piece inside as if it were encased in glass. That’s one way to liven up a simple drink.
Refreshing Mint Cooler
Handful of mint leaves
Juice of half a lemon
Lemonade or Prosecco
Crush the mint leaves inside the glass, Add the lemon juice and ice then top up the glass with lemonade or bubbly.
Blackberry & Honey Fizz
1 tsp Honey
Lemonade or Prosecco
Crush the blackberries in a glass then add the honey. Top up the glass with your choice of fizzy drink and decorate the top with a couple of berries on a skewer (or mint stalk as pictured)
2 Tbsp Lavender infusion OR
1 tsp Lavender Cordial
Champagne or Prosecco
optional: food color to tint
The infusion is made by seeping a handful of lavender flowers in 1 cup of boiled water for ten minutes. Allow to cool then add 2 Tbsp of it to a champagne flute. Top up with bubbly and add a few drops of food colour if desired. Garnish with a lavender flower.