Homemade cordials are one of my favourite things to make, give and drink. They are a great way to use up an excess of pretty much any fruit, need hardly any time and equipment and are just beautiful when mixed with sparkling water, perhaps some nice gin or other spirit and a few herb leaves (think rosemary, thyme, lemon balm, verbena or mint).
With summer fruits not too far away now and the festive season hot on their heels, I'm starting to think about pretty things to put in bottles for Christmas presents and toasting, and this beautiful rosemary and orange cordial has the ball rolling. We drank some last week on a picnic with Mum's art students and it was gorgeous. Come December, I'll be making batches with strawberries (and maybe black pepper and thyme as per this gorgeous recipe), maybe an Anne of Green Gables-inspired raspberry mix? Then later in summer may come a blackberry and star anise cordial.
Orange and rosemary cordial
Grated zest of three oranges
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 long sprigs rosemary
2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
Pour one litre of water into a large saucepan and add the orange zest and one of the rosemary sprigs. Bring just to the boil then remove from heat, stir in the sugar until dissolved and pop in the fridge to cool down for 10 minutes. Discard the rosemary sprig then stir in the orange juice and return to the fridge.
When ready to go, pour the orange syrup into a large jug or punch bowl-ish-container, add the remaining rosemary sprig, pour in water to taste and fill with ice (I like to go with a ratio of four parts water to one part orange syrup mixture). Recipe adapted from one given by Stephanie Alexander in The Cook's Companion.