So we've had a teeny taste of summer. I suppose it's a bit of a case of "get us addicted and then jack up the price", because now I'm sitting watching the rain beating down outside and thinking back to the last few days of sitting in the garden of an evening, with just Radio 4 and a long drink for company.
Looking ahead hopefully to warmer weather to come (fingers crossed, at least) I've made a start on our summer drink supplies. I've some raspberries stewing in white wine vinegar for my raspberry cordial (watch this space...) and fresh lemonade can be made using my Lemonade Base, but this ginger drink can be whipped up whenever and stored in the fridge for all sorts of occasions. It's lovely poured over ice and diluted with water (fizzy or still, your call). In fact, once diluted, it tastes like 'proper' ginger beer, but carries with it none of the problems or effort. It is also rather nice to splash it, neat, into cocktails, pop or fruit juice for an extra hit of fire.
Please don't worry about peeling the ginger too scrupulously, will you?
3 large pieces of root ginger, peeled and sliced
1 lemon, zest pared and juice
1 litre water
1 heaped tbsp ground ginger
250g caster sugar
2 tbsp white wine or cider vinegar
Put everything, bar the vinegar, into a pan and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Boil (uncovered) for 30 minutes or so, then remove from the heat. Stir in the vinegar and then pour through a funnel into a sterilised bottle. As you can see, I use an old wine bottle. I line the funnel with a J-cloth to stop any bits or sediment going into the bottle. Leave the bottle to cool completely, then stick the lid on and keep the bottle in the fridge.