We're all about using the best possible ingredients to make the tonics and seltzers that go into our drinks and we're always discovering new processes that get the most out of them.
From creating giant teabags to steep the Hibiscus in our Hibiscus, Gin Tonic to macerating whole fruits to pack maximum flavour into our bottles, we've learned that by using the best ingredients, we can make the best-tasting drinks.
Last year we held a few live-kegging events to demonstrate! We made 100% natural lemonades, fruit seltzers and historic drinking vinegars. To give you a little taste of what we got up to, we're sharing some of those recipes with you here. We'll look forward to welcoming you to a live-kegging event sometime soon.
Before we get started - remember to use unwaxed lemons. Alternatively, make sure your lemons don't have any fungicide on them. You'll need 10 lemons.
Zest 10 lemons then cover them with 1 kg of sugar. Give the sugar a good bash with the end of a rolling pin.
Congratulations. You just made oleo saccharum. ("Oily sugar" doesn't have quite the same ring to it).
Having left your zest and sugar to sit for 3 or 4 hours, allowing all the lovely oils to release into the sugar, add 1 litre of water and whisk gently until the sugar turns into a syrup.
Strain out the zest.
Now, go get those lemons you zested and juice them.
30 grams of oleo saccharum to 40 mls lemon juice and 240 mls ice cold water - gives you a drink of around 5.5 Brix or 5.5 grams of sugar per 100 grams of drink.
You can, of course, adjust this to your own preferences (and we recommend that you do. That's the fun bit! For instance, you might want to try using fizzy water for extra sparkle).
Developed by early homesteaders, the use of raw unpasteurised vinegar creates a soft acidic ‘cordial’ or 'shrub' that’s packed full of fruit favour.
First, grab a jar. Wash it in hot water (not so hot that it cracks!) or use straight from the dishwasher. You can go to further sterilisation lengths if you like but vinegar is a good preservative so, for home-use, just making sure the jar is clean is good enough, especially as the first stage leaves everything open to the elements.
Gather your fruit and cut into chunks - about walnut size. Pop them in the jar. If using berries, give them a light muddle in the jar.
Cover the fruit with unpasteurised vinegar (we used Aspall’s). You want about an inch more liquid than fruit.
Cover the jar with clean cheesecloth (or similar) and leave at room temperature for 5 days. The natural yeasts on the fruit and in the air start to ferment and as that process creates alcohol, the acetobacter in the raw vinegar feeds off the alcohol to create acetic acid (aka more vinegar). As it does so, it creates all sorts of additional bi-products that add flavour and depth to your shrub.
After 5 days, strain your shrub and place back in the jar and seal - keep in the fridge for 5 more days and... you’re ready to go!
Your shrub will need sugar. Use some of that delicious oleo saccharum if you have it or just create a 50/50 sugar and water syrup using the whisk method as before.
To make a soft drink, you can either add syrup to all of your shrub and then dilute with still or fizzy water when you want to drink or - add the sugar syrup each time you make the drink. The quantities are a little trial and error so you’re on your own! But as a guide, you’ll want about 10% sugar syrup which gives you a 5 Brix solution.
To make a cocktail we used Dodd's Kew Organic Gin but don't be scared to try out your own recipes. Explore our full range of long drinks here.
If you'd like us to host a live-kegging event with you, get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org.