In May 2021 we were approached to create a summer garden inspired cocktail for the celebration of the work and successes of our friends at Green Squirrel. We spend time at Global Gardens project, a community allotment and growing space, run by some other friends. With cold weather and rains we were unsure whether the herbs and fruits we anticipated to draw inspiration from would arrive in time. Then suddenly at the end of May the global gods and sunlight smiled upon us. We found inspiration in walks and talks at the garden with one of the growers Poppy. Wild strawberries and the many varieties of mint thriving at the sunbathed garden oasis in the heart of Cardiff gave us the idea for a cocktail you can make anywhere with just a jar, a penknife and some good quality booze! Enjoy!
Here is the video we made for Green Squirrel and below is the recipe!
- One small handful of wild strawberries OR a large & ripe strawberry or two
- 6 mint leaves (Moroccan or spearmint are best) OR 4 sprigs of salad burnet
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1 large wedge of lemon (1/4 lemon)
- 1 double shot of white rum
- 1 Tbsp. orange liqueur or triple sec
- Sparkling or soda water
- 4 ice cubes
- A pestle or wooden rolling pin for muddling & crushing
- A jar with a lid (250-300ml)
- A strainer or small/tea leaf sieve
- Throw the wild strawberries or chopped Chilean strawberries into the jar.
- Add the herb of your choice, the sugar and whole wedge of lemon.
- Using the pestle or wooden rolling pin edge crush and muddle all the ingredients for a good few minutes to get the lemon juice out, cream the strawberries and help the herb oils and flavours come out.
- Add the rum and liqueur. At this stage you can set the jar aside to infuse for a while. You don’t need to do that.
- Then add the ice and shake vigorously for a couple of minutes.
- Remove the lemon wedge, squeezing all the good flavour and lemon/booze juice out with your fingers.
- Using a strainer (cocktail or mini sieve) pour into a glass (preferably chilled).
- At this stage you have a short and very strong cocktail which you can sip slowly for a quick way to tipsiness and merriment.
If you prefer a lighter and fresher version add some chilled sparking or soda water, at least 1/3 of the cocktail quantity in the glass or to the top of the glass for a longer version.
Behind the scenes
Here is a video of the place that inspired us!
The resurgence of nettle, wild garlic and other foraged greens cooking is a delight to me. I still think that eating and foraging wild greens is a skill that needs more nurturing to become part of our yearly eating calendar. I don’t mean that you have to see nettles on supermarket isles to be able to say they are back. I am not talking about food trends. I am talking about making wild green habit and seasonal eating more of a habit for life.
This nettle pie is a simple way to connect with wild greens that are available in abundance in your surroundings in Spring. Turn the TV off. Take a stroll into your local forest or park. Pick, cook and taste. Have a look and hopefully be inspired by this video.
Every year between end of March and May, I look forward to the ‘hungry gap’ in Wales, when shaded areas under tall trees fill with wild garlic and tender nettle tops that beckon picking.
It’s nothing like a hungry gap for me. I fill my house and belly with greens and nourish myself in tune with the season. And as my knowledgeable friend Gaby tells me possibly help give my liver a bit of a break…
Being in Wales has not stopped me rediscovering and connecting to my Greek roots all these years. I looked around me to see many good raw ingredients here too. I started being more creative and appreciating what wonderful people produce and offer around me here, creating my own cuisine. And of course I keep bringing many treasures back from Greece when I can…or when I meet amazing people who source quality products from home no 1.
Here’s a video sharing how in my life when Greece meets Wales beautiful things get cooking. Enjoy and come on in my kitchen …