When the weather heats up, Rebecca Sullivan likes to gather herbs and make a refreshing summer garden cocktail. It’s a time when she finds sustainable inspiration in her garden too.
“Summer means more than a few things are a given. Entertaining, probably some cocktails and almost certainly lots of money spent in the excitement of the glorious (infrequent) sunshine,” she says.
“These ideas are simple, economical and mindful ways to get you through the summer season and all of them using materials easily available from your local supermarket, farmers market or garden centre.”
Give a cocktail garden as a housewarming gift
Many people move home in the summer it turns out and this also make a wonderful gift with a bottle of that special someone’s favourite spirit.
Just take a large vessel, for example a big vintage copper pot, enamel bowl or old wooden box. Drill some holes in the bottom and then fill with some potting mix. Mix and match the below herbs that are all perfect for a summer drink outside:
Summer garden cocktail citronello spritz recipe
Mix one part citronello with four parts soda or ginger beer, a handful of your cocktail garden herbs and some citrus peels thinly sliced with the pith removed. Add a sprig of sage, lemon verbena and some mint from your mini cocktail garden.
Rebecca says: “My version of limoncello and a great way to use up the citrus glut. You can mix and match the citrus anyway you please.”
1 litre bottle vodka
2 pink grapefruit
1 litres boiling water
Peel the citrus into long strips of about 1cm wide. Remove any pith, this will make the citronello bitter. Divide the citrus into a few large sterilised jars. Cover evenly with the vodka and leave for a week in a cool dark place shaking them a few times each day.
After a week, out the sugar into a heatproof bowl and pour over the boiling water, stirring until it is fully dissolved. Pour evenly into the citrus jars and cover with lid, shake and leave again for another week in the same place, remembering to shake a few times a day.
After this week, strain into decorative bottles and add a few strips of fresh citrus as garnish. Cello is best left to mature for a few months before drinking and will keep indefinitely.
To accompany your summer cocktails and use the leftover already picked herbs, leftover cold coffee and squishy back of the fridge berries try some no waste Ice cubes. Ice cube trays make fantastic mortars for the leftover fruits and herbs.
Simply spread the berries into the trays with mint of you like and top up with water. You can do they same with your leftover herbs and fill with olive oil. Freeze and use cube at a time when cooking.
Another great one for summer is using up any leftover coffee from your cafetiere and hoping into a tall glass of ice with milk for an iced coffee (and perhaps a shot of vodka for a cocktail take).