Friday, 2 August 2019

Cooling Herbal Summer Drinks

I recently wrote about the way herbal iced teas can have a cooling effect on the body when it’s hot and sticky, see the article here Using Herbal Teas To Keep Cool. But iced teas aren’t the only drinks we can make from herbs to help keep us cool and quench our thirst during the summer.

We can make subtle and delicate drinks like rose petal lemonade or stroll down memory lane - if you’re my age – and make a batch of nettle or ginger beer, cue the Enid Blyton obligatory ‘Lashings of Ginger Beer’ quote. Although I have to confess after a rather gingery explosion in the kitchen one summers afternoon when my ginger beer ‘plant’ exploded all over the newly decorated walls, I’m now banned from making ginger beer! Instead I make a lemongrass and ginger syrup and mix that with lemonade.

Is there anything more refreshing on a hot summer’s day than a glass of ice cold homemade cloudy lemonade? Well actually yes, make orangeade and add basil, enhance the flavour of the lemonade with lemon thyme or make limeade laced with rosemary. Or you can go floral and try my personal favourite rose petal lemonade. Soft, pink, girlie and delicious, perfect for serving at a baby shower for a little girl, or for a girl’s night on the patio!

Rose Petal Lemonade

60g Dried Culinary Grade Rose Petals or 120g Fresh Rose Petals
500ml Boiling Water
200g Castor Sugar
Juice of 8 Lemons
1 Tbsp. Good Quality Culinary Rose Water
1250ml Cold Water (N.B. Use sparkling Spring Water if you want to have a fizzy version)

Method: Place the rose petals into a bowl, and pour the boiling water over them. Allow to steep for about 10-15 minutes, then strain out the rose petals and discard. Mix the sugar into the hot water and stir until dissolved, add the lemon juice, this will help to create the pink colour in the lemonade, next add the rose water and pour into a 2 litre capacity jug or bottle. Taste the rose lemonade and add more sugar if too sour or more lemon juice if too sweet, you can also add a little more rose water if the lemonade isn’t rosy enough for you. Finally top the jug up with the rest of the cold water, or use sparkling water if you want your rose lemonade to fizz.

Serve in tall glasses over ice with a few rose petals for decoration. I also like to freeze rose petals and whole raspberries in ice cube trays and use these to chill my rose lemonade.

Lavender Lemonade

Another of my floral summer favourite drinks, this is a wonderfully different summer drink to try, and really easy to make, you can make a still or sparkling version to suit your taste. It definitely tastes better served well chilled whichever version you make.


50g Dried Lavender Flowers, Culinary Grade preferably
500ml Boiling Water
150g Castor Sugar
Juice of 8 Lemons
1250ml Cold Water (N.B. Use sparkling Spring Water if you want to have a fizzy version)

Method: Follow the method given for the rose lemonade recipe above substituting dried lavender for rose petals and omitting the rose water.

Old Fashioned Dandelion & Burdock Cordial

Fruit and herb cordials are very refreshing on long hot summer days, typically they are viewed as being drinks for children, but there are plenty of recipes for cordials that are made for the adult palette. For me, nothing beats sipping ice cold dandelion and burdock, be it a still version from a cordial like the one in this recipe, or a version with added fizz. It takes me back to my childhood and is still a drink I love as an adult. You can also find recipes for Dandelion & Burdock beer if you fancy making an alcoholic tipple, or you can use the cordial to make a cocktail with vodka or gin as the base.

1 Litre Cold Spring Water
15g Burdock Root Powder
15g Dandelion Root Powder
5g Ground Ginger
1 Whole Star Anise Pod, Crushed
½ Tsp Liquorice Root Powder
½ Tsp Citric Acid
1 Tbsp. Black Treacle
450g Granulated Sugar
Soda Water

To make the dandelion and burdock cordial, first you have to make a syrup by mixing all the dry ingredients in a little of the spring water to form a paste and place into a pan and add the remaining cold water and bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer the pan for 15-20 minutes. Turn off the heat and strain the liquid through a fine mesh nylon sieve or muslin, or failing that a clean tea towel to remove all the solids. Clean out the pan and put the filtered liquid back into it and place the pan on a very low light and stir in the sugar and treacle. Continue to stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Allow the syrup to cool and then pour into a clean sterilised bottle.

To serve, put 50ml of the syrup in to a tall glass and top up with 200ml of well chilled sparkling water or fill a large glass jug with 1 part syrup to 4 parts sparkling water.

Debs Cook is the IT Media Manager for the DHM, she is a self confessed herbaholic who loves to write about the way herbs were once used and about the herbalists that used them. You can find out more about Debs over on her Herbal haven blog.

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to source the most up to date and accurate information, we cannot guarantee that remedies in our articles are effective, when in doubt, consult your GP or a qualified Medicinal Herbalist. Remember also that herbal remedies can be dangerous under certain circumstances therefore you should always seek medical advice before self-treating with a homemade remedy, especially if you are pregnant, breast feeding or suffer from any known illness which could be adversely affected by self-treatment.