This recipe was created by master drink-smith Gemma, a mastermind of DIY drinks (@masterdrinksmith on Instagram), including beetroot kvass with soda, orange peel tepache and a Lynchburg Lemonquatade.
Here’s her recipe for homemade limoncello:
5 unwaxed lemons
1l bottle vodka (the cheapest stuff you can find!)
750g caster sugar
700ml boiling water
– Peel the zest from all the lemons with as little of the bitter pith as possible. Put the zest in a large glass bottle or glass jar and pour over the vodka. Cover with a tightly fitting lid.
– Leave for a few weeks until you can taste the lemon coming through or until the peel goes white and brittle.
– At this point you can strain through a muslin if you want a smooth mixture.
– Put the sugar in a heatproof bowl and pour over the boiling water, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Add the lemon vodka and chill.
– Give a little shake before serving.
Ginger beer is known for its spicy, aromatic flavour. Whether you use as a mixer with a touch of rum like Gemma, or sip it as a soft drink with a slice of lime, you can’t beat the intense flavour that comes from making your own.
500g organic ginger
3 litres of water
Fermentation grade bottle/clean plastic soda bottle
– Grate 500g of organic ginger. It’s actually really important to use organic as the lack of chemical interference helps with the ferment. Add to a clean jar with 350g sugar.
– Top up with the 3 litres of water and stir until sugar is dissolved (you may use slightly less than 3 litres as you want to leave about an inch at the top).
– Seal the jar with an airlock lid if you have one, or use an elastic band looped around the clip, ensuring the jar is sealed shut but with enough give to release any built up gas.
– Leave in a cupboard and check back regularly for fizz. This is a sign that the ginger beer is using the natural yeast in the air to ferment (similar to sourdough).
– After a couple of days, give it a taste and if it has reached your personal balance between sweet and fiery, strain it though muslin and bottle it. If not, leave it a little longer. Generally we leave for seven days.
– It’s important to use a fermentation-grade glass bottle rather than a regular one. These are usually made with thicker glass and a sturdier base. If you don’t have one, a clean plastic soda bottle will do the trick – your main concern is not having glass explode in your kitchen – ginger beer can give off a lot of gas!
– Leave overnight to let it carbonate before storing in the fridge. It will continue to ferment, albeit slower than before, so will get less sweet over time. If this happens just add a little honey to your glass.
Blueberry and apple shrub
Red wine vinegar/sugar – matched
– Blitz your blueberries in a food processor and pour them into a clean sealable jar.
– Pour enough red wine vinegar to just cover the blueberries (take note of how much vinegar you use as you will need the same amount of sugar later).
– Crack some whole black peppercorns either in a mortar and pestle or using the flat side of a knife and add to the mixture sparingly. Place in a cool dry place overnight.
– Meanwhile, bring a litre of water to the boil and dissolve in 500ml of honey.
– Thinly slice three apples in another jar and pour over the hot, honey syrup until the apples are covered. Again leave to steep overnight.
– The next day, strain the blueberry vinegar through clean dry muslin.
– In a pot, bring the strained vinegar to a boil and add the sugar (if you used 500ml of red wine vinegar, use 500g of sugar). Simmer for about a minute until all the sugar has dis-solved.
– Leave to cool before straining once more through muslin.
– Strain the apple syrup through another piece of muslin.
– Mix the apple and blueberry syrups together until the flavours are balanced to your taste.
– Serve with soda over ice – preferably in a sunny garden.
Blackcurrant leaf cordial
There are lots of blackcurrant bushes in the field next to the Field Kitchen’s polytunnel but the berry season is fairly short, so head chef Lewis Glanvill likes to find ways to keep the blackcurrant flavour before and after the berries are ready.
The leaves pack a huge flavour and can be used in multiple ways like dried powders, vinegars and drinks, or this recipe for a cordial:
40g citric acid
600ml boiling water
180g black currant leaves
– Place the sugar, citric acid and boiling water in a large saucepan, heat to just below the boil.
– Add your washed blackcurrant leaves to a jar, bottle or container and pour in the sugar syrup.
– Allow to cool, cover and leave for a week stirring daily. Strain and bottle keep in the fridge and use within a month. We recommend one part cordial to 10 parts water.
For more foodie inspiration, tips and recipes, follow @theriverfordfieldkitchen on Instagram.