Make your own spring drinks

Wow friends at garden gatherings or treat yourself to a homemade brunch cocktail with these three spring drinks from mixologist Gem Stadden.

Ever thought about making your own fresh drinks at home? It’s a delicious way to add more fruit and veg into your day, plus an impressive garden aperitif for any visiting friends or family. Add a dash of liquor and enjoy a decadent brunch cocktail, ideal for sunny mornings or even brightening up a greyer day!

Grape shrub

Shrub

500g grapes

500ml red wine vinegar

500g sugar

Blend or mash the grapes until juice begins to release and place in a sterilised jar. Cover the grapes with red vinegar and stir, before storing in a cool, dark location for 1-3 days. You may notice a slight brown colour to the top of your infusion but this is just the natural yeasts from the grapes blooming and isn’t anything to worry about.

Strain the mixture through muslin, pressing the grapes slightly to extract the juice. In a saucepan, combine your fruit vinegar and the sugar and bring to boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar completely. Once boiling, drop the heat to a lower simmer for around 1 minute, then allow to cool. Once the shrub has cooled, strain once more through muslin, before bottling in a sterilised container. It should last in the fridge for about 2 months.

Serving suggestion: In the Field Kitchen, we either serve this with sparkling water, or topped up with prosecco for a decadent brunch cocktail.

Roast rhubarb lemonade

Rhubarb

4 sticks of rhubarb

2 lemons

200g sugar

500ml water

2 cardamom pods

¼ inch ginger

1 star anise

Preheat your oven to 200C. Slice the rhubarb into chunks about 2cm long and toss with 100g of sugar until coated. Place on a baking tray with the halved lemons and roast for 15-20 mins, until the rhubarb is soft.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, add the rest of the sugar, 500ml of water, the cracked cardamom pods, ginger slice and star anise. Bring to the boil and simmer for a couple of minutes, before leaving to cool, removing the cardamom and star anise.

When the rhubarb and lemons have finished roasting, add them into a food processor, deglaze the pan with your sugar syrup, then add that to the blender too. Process until the lemons and rhubarb are completely broken down. Strain through muslin, bottle in a sterilised container and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Serving suggestion: I liked this mixed with ginger beer, soda water, or plenty of crushed ice and a tot of rum to make a quick daiquiri.

Bunny Mary

Carrot

50ml pepper vodka

100ml fresh carrot juice

25ml sugar syrup

½ lemon, juiced

A dash of caper brine

A dash of hot sauce

To make the pepper vodka, lightly crush a teaspoon of whole black peppercorns and add to 5ooml of vodka. Leave overnight, before straining.

To make the sugar syrup, bring 200ml of water to the boil and add 200g of sugar, stir it until dissolved before bottling and storing in the fridge. This should keep for 2 months. I find it useful to always have some handy for cocktail emergencies!

In a tall glass filled with plenty of ice, add all the ingredients, and stir until chilled.

Serving suggestion: While I prefer a drink with a fair amount of kick to it, I recommend starting off with a very small amount of hot sauce and keeping tasting until you get a pleasant tingle on the tongue.

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