Now high summer is upon us refreshing long drinks are definitely the order of the day, here is a recipe for one of our favourite summer cordials. The perfect base for a homemade lemon with a twist and equally a perfect replacement for sugar syrup in cocktails.
3 lemons, 3 small cucumbers, 500g granulated sugar, 700ml water, 2 handfuls of mint
YIELD 1 litre
To start wash all lemons, mint and cucumbers to remove any unwanted potential cordial components. Once washed grate the zest of your 3 lemons, a microplane is ideal but any grater will do. Place this zest in a heatproof container and add to this the juice of the lemons followed by the 500 grams of sugar. Granulated works best as it is clean and unlike a brown sugar does not mask the crisp cucumber and mint. To this dry mixture pour over the 700ml of hot water and stir together until fully combined.
At this point leave the zested syrup to cool before placing in your ribbons of cucumber and sprigs of mint. Adding either at this point will change the overall flavour. While your syrup is cooling you have time to prepare your cucumber ribbons, made very simply by using a peeler and slicing to create a cucumber cross-section. Apart from being a key part of this cordial these ribbons are a fantastic addition to any jug of water for a flavourful infusion.
Once your syrup has cooled you can add your cucumber and pick your mint leaves into the mixture, stir this new medley together until all elements are interacting and the cover and place into fridge overnight (24 hours is best). When the time comes sieve your mixture and bottle into batches. As the cordial contains lemon and cucumber juices it is best to keep it in the fridge when not being served as to best preserve it, if you follow this your cordial easily has a 2 -3 week storage life.
To make a cucumber and mint lemonade add equal parts cordial and fresh lemon juice (25ml each works well) to a glass of ice and top with soda water, to serve add a fresh cucumber ribbon for flavour and aesthetic.