Currently, my kitchen table looks like some kind of crazy lady tiki bar. Turns out writing a book about homemade cocktails is a lot of fun. And messy. I did have a slightly awkward moment yesterday when buying a 1.5l bottle of vodka straight after the school run – I don’t think me saying “this isn’t as bad as it looks” to the woman behind the counter helped – but other than that, all good. Anyway, here’s something that would be perfect for Mother’s Day, either as a present or for self-gifting purposes. It’s pretty cheap and really easy to make, looks gorgeous (bright pink; so now) and best of all, tastes amazing. Step forward the strawberry shrub, a kind of sweet and sour syrup that you can add to cocktails or use as a base for booze-free drinks. Here’s what you do:
Slice 250g strawberries, add to a kilner jar and pour in 250ml of apple cider vinegar, 250g of sugar and a handful of fresh basil leaves.
Muddle the ingredients in the jar (just gently crush them against the bottom of the jar with the end of a rolling pin or mortar if you haven’t got a muddler) then seal the lid and shake it, shake it, shake it, shake it like a Polaroid picture.
Leave it in a cool place overnight, then strain and put back into a clean jar. Store in the fridge and it’ll keep for months.
Now get a bottle of Asti (I’ve recommended one in this week’s wine reviews, along with a red for less than a fiver!) and on Sunday pour 25ml (around half an egg cup) of syrup into a coupe or flute glass before topping up with fizz. Sip it, feet up, whilst eating cake.
Happy Mother’s Day x
Big thanks to Ben from Seedlip for his gorgeous shrub recipe.
Current sparkling in the fridge: Asti Spumante
Price: £9.00 - Buy From Marks and Spencer
This is from Piedmont, the smartest wine region in Italy (think Barolo). But Asti is often relegated to the bottom shelf in shops over here, written off as cheap, sweet and, if we’re honest, a bit naff. But the good ones are gorgeous: light (this one’s only 7%), frothy and floral with gentle sweetness. Sip this one on its own or, to cut through the sweetness a little, add a slug of homemade strawberry shrub and hey presto! Pimped up pink fizz for under a tenner. Dangerously more-ish.
Current red in the rack: The Takeout Sangiovese
Price: £4.50 - Buy From Sainsbury's
Ridiculously good value Italian red, this is what’s called for when you’re stuck to the sofa and about to face plant a pizza. It’s made from the Sangiovese grape (the one behind the wines of Chianti) and is so simply done, full of juicy, soft cherry and raspberry fruit flavours. Wine duty has just gone up again so finding good wines under a fiver isn’t as easy as it used to be. One worth taking away.