The hot weather we're enjoying at the moment in the UK is just begging for long cool drinks in the garden, but that doesn’t have to mean long bills from the supermarket as you purchase increasing quantities of what are, more or less, bottles of flavoured coloured water.
Home made soft drinks, on the other hand, are far tastier and cheaper. Here are just a few great soft drink ideas that we found searching through the blogs and websites that we rate (plus one of our own). We’ll be offering a wider selection of soft drink links on our new website, which will launch later this summer. More about that soon.
Ginger beer – we'd completely forgotten about this almost lost craft, until we came across a great step by step guide to ginger beer making from Simple Green Frugal a writers' cooperative for sustainable living.
Iced tea - we're also grateful to the Stocking the Larder blog for reminding us about iced tea. Any tea you can make hot you can make cold. You may want to brew the tea in a little hot water first before topping up with cold and popping the glasses in the fridge.
Experiment with flavours by adding lemon and orange slices, spices such as cinnamon and cloves, or herbs like mint. Tip Fresh green herbs like mint, which can bruise and go soggy, are best added just before serving.
Sherbets – The Victorians used to make sherbets, which involved mixing flavourings with ground sugar. This mixture could then be dried and stored.
We’ve also been exprimenting with making up small quantities of the mixture and then storing this moist in the fridge, for fresher flavours. Try pounding castor sugar with a combination of fresh mint, lemon and orange zest. This mixture is then diluted with iced water. (You can also use it to flavour a standard iced tea.)