I’m not the world’s greatest vodka fan. I would be hard pressed to tell the difference between Grey Goose and Aldi. On the other hand it is a wonderful preservative for things like chillis (which are dripping off the plants in my greenhouse) and even I quite like a vodka and tonic when the vodka has had a little help.
From left to right, lavender vodka, raspberry brandy (the interloper) and raspberry vodka. It is harvest time and if I don’t get down to making cordials, jellies and infusing spirits soon there will be little left. There are plenty of recipes for fruit spirits I don’t follow any of them. I take the flower or fruit and add them to the spirit. My personal choices are brandy and vodka although when the brambles come out later in the year I will make bramble whisky, the strong flavour of the brambles complements the whisky, it goes well with brandy as well but is pointless to waste vodka on them. Vodka is best for the subtler flavours such as flowers and raspberries. I don’t add any sugar. If you want to make a liqueur then I prefer to add sugar syrup to taste once the infusion is complete. Personally I prefer to leave it as pure spirit, if somebody wants a liqueur I can always add the sugar syrup later.
The rosehips need to mature a little more before they are ready but the meadowsweet
is everywhere and I want to get plenty of syrup made before it fades.
There is so much in the garden, and not just that which I planted which needs to be harvested. Today I will collect and dry comfrey and lavender. Comfrey is no longer considered safe to eat due to its high levels of alkaloids but it is a great healer. You can use the leaves direct on a wound during the summer months and I shall make a salve for the winter. It also makes a terrific fertiliser.
I like to have a good store of culinary quality lavender and what better way than to grow your own? It’s great in baking, and its soothing properties makes it good in salves as well.
Finally I must dry out the seaweed we collected at the weekend. The lavender smells better but needs must!