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
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.