How to make hedgerow cocktails

Fancy a hazelnut manhattan or a blackberry sidecar? Or what about making your own elderberry wine from scratch? Here's our expert guide on how to turn an autumn walk into a chance to create delightful drinks for the dark months ahead

Hazelnut manhattan

Smells can be so evocative of a time of year, and flavour even more so. And those are the joys of making hedgerow booze: each bottle you open or cocktail you mix reawakens precious memories of long, romantic country walks or picnics and blackberrying with the family.

What’s more, it can feel primal, a return to a forgotten ancestral past, a time of gathering summer’s glut and setting down stores for the winter. And, let’s face it, by the time Christmas comes, you’ll be glad you had the foresight to make some inexpensive but truly delectable drinks all those months previously.
Here are our favourite hedgerow booze recipes, from blackberry cocktails to homemade hazelnut bourbon.

Hazelnut Bourbon 

Autumn is the perfect time to forage for hazelnuts, and there’s no better way to use them than to make your own hedgerow booze. This recipe shows you how to make homemade hazelnut bourbon, plus the perfect a hazelnut manhattan.

Advertisement
Hazelnut manhattan
Hedgerow booze is perfect to make in Autumn (Photo by: arinahabich via Getty Images)

The perfect Sloe gin

Sloes are the fruit of the blackthorn. A densely growing bush, packed with thorns, it’s often used in hedgerows to keep livestock in check. It’s a member of the prunus family, and like its more glamorous relatives, it’s dressed in white blossom throughout spring. This pretty display, combined with its overall hardiness, means that it features in many a suburban parkland.

Making sloe gin is very much a case of life in the sloe lane. It can require quite a bit of patience but is extremely rewarding, and this is the perfect recipe.

Sloe gin recipe
Homemade sloe gin requires a lot of patience, but make it in autumn and you’ll be sorted for Christmas (Photo by Jay PH via Getty Images)

Blackberry sidecar 

The sidecar is a traditional cocktail that is thought to have originated around the time of the First World War. It’s usually made with triple sec (orange-flavoured liqueur), cognac and lemon juice that give it both warmth and sharpness with each sip – a perfect autumnal drink. There are a few variations of the blackberry sidecar, but this recipe is tried and tested.

Advertisement
Blackberry sidecar cocktail recipe (Photo by: Sarsmis via Getty Images)
The sidebar cocktail has been around for decades, but the addition of blackberry puts a freat modern twist on a classic (Photo by: Sarsmis via Getty Images)

Elderberry wine

This is a full wine-making recipe and, done well, can produce a red wine good enough to compete with many supermarket wines. Occasionally you will produce something truly exquisite. Just like grapes, elderberries can differ year on year. Some years every tree seems to be weighed down with massive clusters of plump, juicy fruits that all go ripe at the same time. Other years are leaner but elder trees are so abundant you should find enough berries for this recipe.

Elderberry wine recipe (Photo by: Dejan Kolar via Getty Images)
Elderberries help strengthen the immune system and fight cold and flu. (Photo by: Dejan Kolar via Getty Images)