I went to the River Cottage festival this August bank holiday, and as well as it being a gloriously hot weekend, I went to a great wild cocktail workshop with the fantastic John Wright.
I came home full of enthusiasm for homemade booze, and have been experimenting ever since.
As well as inspiration from John’s book ‘Booze’, I’m a huge fan of Pinterest, and find many recipes in there. I tend to save them in my Recipes from the garden or Scented geranium recipes or my Cocktails folders.
I thought it was time to share a few of my successes. Some are made with lovely natural ingredients from my garden, and others purely from shop bought ingredients. This post focussed on the ones from the garden, and I will write other posts about the man made ones!
First up is a rhubarb and rose geranium vodka. I used this recipe from The Telegraph, and added a little pink food colouring to make it this gorgeous light pink colour (otherwise it’s a bit green). I also used rose scented pelargonium because rhubarb and rose are good together, but you could use any scented pelargonium leaves I guess. I think they were Grey Lady Plymouth pelargoniums. The Telegraph recommend mixing with champagne or prosecco, and I may well do that at Christmas.
Next up is rose scented gin, which I made by mixing gin, sugar and Attar of roses pelargonium leaves. This is my favourite rose scented pelargonium. I just had this as a gin and tonic, and it was delicious. But I’d like a stronger rose taste so next time I’m going to add more leaves and let it steep for more than a couple of weeks. Crushing the leaves probably also helps. Again I added a (teeny) bit of food colouring (less than to the vodka) to give a slightly better colour.
For both of these I let them steep (best to do it in a jar as it’s easier to get the bits out afterwards) and then strained and decanted into bottles after a few weeks. I strain mine twice. Once through a sieve lined with kitchen roll (I use a piece of that brand called Blitz and it’s lovely and thick) and once through kitchen roll as I’m decanting it into the bottle (I line my funnel with kitchen roll – you need to lift it from time to time as it creates an air lock).
I have also made some pelargonium scented simple syrups for use in cocktails. The simple syrup was made by heating 50% water and 50% sugar together. Then you mix in the leaves and leave it to soak for a while. Then strain.
And finally I’ve made some rose pelargonium sugar. By simply layering sugar and leaves for a while.
Recipes for the syrup and sugar can be found here.