Cocktail and mocktail fun

Gin and oranges infusing in a kilner jar

I'm easing back slowly* into bloggage again. There's been lots of reading over the past couple of months, and my sole foray into garden-related-ish activities was to make some fun, delicious cocktails and mocktails for WI last week. These went down well, and I thought you'd like to see the recipe leaflet I put together, especially as many of you'll have family gatherings and get togethers planned over Easter.

I couldn't resist tweaking slightly Marc Diacono's gin recipe using Seville oranges to make 'marmalade gin' from his late January newsletter. Mine is a cheeky nod to the 'Jam and Jerusalem' WI stereotype, which is so far from the reality in ours. Flavoured gins whether distilled or infused are super trendy and I've found the latter are easy to make**. After a month of infusing, marmalade gin makes a fine Tom Collins. You don't need to wait until next January to make a start on your own as the usual oranges available can be used for a slightly sweeter alternative.

Book cover - Wild Mocktails and Healthy Cocktails by Lottie Muir
My initial inspiration was my review copy of Lottie Muir's Wild Mocktails and Healthy Cocktails, though I soon realised March is way too early to fully explore the book's central foraging theme. I'm itching to plunder the fields and hedgerows close to home, so expect a more detailed review of this book later.

I'm determined it'll still feature at WI sometime, reinforced by a member's enquiry about sugar in last week's offerings. Many of Lottie Muir's recipes are designed to be low in sugar, yet full of flavour; it's a win-win.

My nod to Lottie's book was to explore elderflower cordial as it will soon be time to make some. It's also one of my favourite Easy Recipes. I kept things simple, just adding fizzy water, lemon slices and mint to make Elderflower Fizz.

A glass of Earl Grey Pimm's

Tea is one of the WI's superfuels***, so I made a tea-based 'Pimm's', using Earl Grey tea bags, fizzy water, mint plus loads of fruit and cucumber. It went down well, with many people commenting it would be a great alternative at parties for drivers who want to look like they have a full-on drink in their hands.

I've thoroughly enjoyed my first foray into the world of cocktails and mocktails, do you have any favourite recipes to share? Do tell in the comments below.

* = thanks for all your messages and good wishes whilst I've been away. The good news is the plaster is off and the real hard work of rehabilitation has begun. I thought I'd be able to drive immediately, but that's at least a couple of weeks away. Light gardening duties are the order of the day - more on that soon.

** = the tea and elderflower gin infusions in my recipe leaflet are even easier to make; the tea one is ready in a matter of hours. There are tons of ideas out there on the interweb. Have a google and play,  it's a great way to cheer up a rainy Easter.

*** = as is cake, let's not forget CAKE! We played 'guess the mystery ingredient' with the latest cake on offer. There were 2 types of chocolate cake, one containing avocado and the other mashed potato, plus ones with beetroot and tomato soup. They were all yummy!

PS a warm welcome to anyone who's wandered over from The Telegraph today 😊


  1. I'm not a cocktail person but have a park bench / picnic table outside the larger of the two greenhouses on my allotment (lucky, ain't I!?) where I have been drinking coffee from a flask. Once I'm properly up and running I'll take a camping gas stove up there so I can be very W.I. ish and make fresh tea too.

    1. I take a flask of coffee to the allotment too Lucy and I miss not having Thredspider there to share it with. I've taken the decision not to replace my shed but ti have a large storage box instead so won't be following your lead re the camping stove, despite finding one when clearing out mum's house.

  2. What is gin but vodka with flavourings??...I use vodka instead of gin,so the only flavour is from what I've added. So far we've tried Alpine Strawberry-ready when the strawbs are white and the colour in the spirit. Sloe, as per usual, Wild apple...takes two years,but the Oh Boy!! Blackcurrant, with no sugar added, very nice. The favourites have been Wild Cherry (Geans) and Wild Cherry + Wild Apple (not Crabapple).
    Nice to see you back again..mend well xx

    1. Thanks gz :) I found plenty of similar recipes using vodka when I was looking at the possibilities, especially as a couple of our members enjoyed the toffee vodka available to try at the WI Fair last year. I found a recipe for that... all you need is vodka and a packet of Werther's Originals! I'm lucky that I can forage for sloes simply by leaning over my back garden fence as we have an old hedgerow next door. I like the sound of your Wild Cherry vodka - we have them on our estate, so I will have to try to beat the birds to the fruit before they strip the trees.

  3. Oh it's good to see a post from you VP. Glad to hear that your poorly paw is healing. I will have a good look at your recipe later at a later date. The marmalade gin sounds fun and a fairly quick process. We are still imbibing last year's allotment raspberry gin as well as damsom gin, the fruit of which comes from where our caravan is sited. All good stuff :)

    1. Thanks Anna, it's lovely to have your comments again :) I'll keep damson gin in mind - I have a friend with a damson tree who's always willing to donate lots of her produce and we're trying to cut down on jam!

  4. I'm such a lightweight these days when it comes to alcohol. Like the sound of your mock Pimms though. Roll on summer. Well roll on Spring first perhaps.

    Good to see you back and getting better.

    1. Thanks Colleen. I'm a bit of a lightweight too, so I'm particularly looking forward to trying out more mocktails this summer 😊

  5. The cocktails were fab .....I was there ..... tee-hee ..... super fuel for the WI ..... we really are Jam and Jerusalem on the edge ..... I'm looking forward to a re-visit during the foraging season!


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