Times are hard – these days, if you want luxury you’ll have to forage for it. Fed by Birds is here to help, so we bring you cocktail recipes derived from the land. Let Ray Mears drink sap; we expect something a little more exciting from the wilderness.
Vodka and Nettle Cordial
As served by Lady Strange.
100g freshly picked nettle tips
100g freshly picked young blackcurrant leaves
1 kg granulated sugar
40g citric acid
500ml boiling water
Add the sugar, citric acid and water to a large saucepan. Heat to 60 degrees C. Add the leaves and remove immediately from heat. Cover and leave for a week, stirring daily. Strain and bottle. Keep in refrigerator.
Add vodka to taste.
1/2lb hazelnuts, finely chopped
1 1/2 cup vodka
1/3 cup sugar
3 tbsp. water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Hazelnut liqueur preparation:
In a glass bottle or jar, steep the chopped hazelnuts in the vodka for about 2 weeks in a cool, dark place, gently shaking the bottle every day. Gently pour the contents through a strainer or sieve, pressing hard on the nuts to release all the flavor.
Follow this by 2 strainings through slightly dampened cheesecloth or large coffee filter; loosely cover the contents with plastic wrap, since the process may take several hours.
In a very small saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Bring to a boil over moderate-high heat. Simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.
Stir in the vanilla. Funnel into glass bottle. Cover tightly; shake to blend. Let mature at room temperature, or slightly cooler, for at leat 3 weeks.
For martini, combine 1/2oz hazelnut liqueur with 1oz vodka with ice in a mixing glass. Strain into chilled cocktail glass and serve.
1lb haws washed and lightly crushed
6oz caster sugar
1 1/4 pint brandy
Put the berries, sugar and the brandy into clean lidded jar. Stir well. Put on the lid.
Store in a cool place for 3 months, shaking the jar daily for the first 7 days. Strain the brandy through a brewing sieve into a jug. Do not squeeze the sieve. Pour the liqueur into a clean bottle and cork.
5-6 Elderfower heads
8 pints boiled Water
1 1/2lb sugar
2 tbsp Cider Vinegar
Put the elderflower heads and sliced lemons in a fermentation bucket and pour on the water. Leave to soak for 24 – 36 hours. Strain through a cloth or fine sieve and add the sugar and the vinegar. Stir well until the sugar is completely dissolved. It doesn’t keep much longer than 3 months.
Capillaire is a syrup popular in old English drinks:
Infuse 2oz maidenhair fern in 11/2 boiling water, and 2lb of loaf sugar, which pour while boiling hot on 2oz more of the fern. In 10 hours strain clear.
For the punch:
Take 1 quart of mild ale.
1 glass of white wine.
1 glass of brandy.
1 glass of Capillaire.
Mix the ale, wine, brandy and Capillaire together with the juice of the lemon and a portion of the peel pared very thin. Grate nutmeg on the top, and add a bit of toasted bread.