As the gentle summer evenings encourage us to linger a little longer at the table, thoughts turn to the drinks menu, where Rosé does not have to be the only option. Have you mastered the art of making a decent cocktail yet? It’s a very handy skill.
The Maison Premiere Almanac, Joshua Boissy
The Maison Premiere Almanac is a good place to start honing your craft. Part bartending manual, part cocktail compendium, this beautifully photographed hardback tome has 90 drink recipes from the eponymous Brooklyn bar. Treating bar tending and cocktail making as an art form, it is emphatic about the importance of the experience as a whole, not just the potent hit of your chosen poison. The set-up, or mise en place, is key to great cocktail making, where everything, from the glasses, and jugs to the chopping boards and cocktail sticks, is at hand and ready for action.
Elderberry Cordial, Great British Chefs
Making an Elderberry Cordial is a great way to make use of the brilliant bounty of elderberry that you have picked. These berries are in season between August and October. Great British Chefs recommend topping your cordial up with sparkling water for a refreshing drink or using it as a base for cocktails, such as this Elderberry Kir Royale.
Campfire Cocktails, Cider Mill Press
For something a little less involved, but with plenty of great recipes, have a look at Campfire Cocktails. Published later this month, it works off the premise that nothing goes better with a campfire than cocktails, and contains 100 recipes supposedly to be enjoyed on camping and hiking trips. While 2 different rums, a bag of ice and a lemon zester are unlikely components of a rucksack – and where would you get the ice?- this is a fantastic resource of original and inspiring recipes.
The Ice Book, Camper English
Anyone wanting to push their skills further will enjoy The Ice Book, which explores the art of ice making to elevate your cocktail-making skills to the next level. Learn how to embed your ice with edible orchids, create a frozen bowl for a negroni punch, or serve a Manhattan inside an ice sphere.
Kombucha: Healthy recipes for naturally fermented tea drinks, Louise Avery
For non-alcoholic alternatives, have you ever considered making kombucha? The process of fermenting tea and sugar into a naturally sparkling, pro-biotic drink takes a little time to perfect, but once you have mastered it you will have an endless supply of something both refreshing and complex-tasting, with lots of health benefits on the side. Louise Avery will guide you through the process in her current book, Kombucha: healthy recipes for naturally fermented tea, showing you how to brew, flavour and mix your kombucha. It is great as a mixer too.
Ultimate Green Juicing, Gertrude Ciotti
And then, when you really wish you had not indulged so much, you need a good green juice to make you feel better. Of course you could simply bung anything green into a juicer and hope for the best, but a little guidance, particularly the morning after, is no bad thing. The new edition of Ultimate Green Juicing will take you through everything from simple juices to more complex recipes, with specific juices prescribed for particular issues: hangover cure, anyone?
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