Lavender recipes from Andy Hamilton

Bristol-based author Andy Hamilton included two lavender recipes in his award-winning book, Booze for Free.Yes, lavender is pretty. And yes, lavender smells nice. But if you are wondering what use all those lavender plants for that you bought from us.... did you know it makes a cracking pint too?

With a catchy title like that, and with lavender as an ingredient, we could hardly ignore it...

Forager, home brewer, author, journalist and broadcaster Andy Hamilton is the author of the best selling brew (and forage) your own book Booze for Free.He's often emerging from the undergrowth clutching unusual wild, brewing ingredients. This has lead to some uncomfortable interchanges with constabulary members.

Andy's new book is called Brewing Britain (published in autumn 2013) which combines home brewing with tasting notes of many of the beers across our great drinking nation. It will be "the first ever homebrew book that can be enjoyed in its entirety or from an armchair..."

 

Lavender mead

"...this beverage will convince you that there's a summer day in your glass. You'll almost be able to hear the bees buzzing around..." Andy Hamilton, author

Ingredients

  • 1.5kg / 3lb runny, delicately flavoured honey
  • 125ml / half a cup of dried lavender flowers
    (Hidcote or Munstead are excellent culinary choices)
  • 1.5l / 3 pints of boiling water
  • sweet mead yeast
  • 1tsp yeast nutrient

Equipment

  • fermentation bin
  • 4.5l / 1 gallon demijohn
  • solid bung
  • airlock and bung
  • siphoning tube

 

Method

Place the jars of honey into a bowl of hot water and leave for a few minutes. This loosens the honey in the jar and makes it easier to pour. Once loosened the honey should be poured into a fermentation bin, covered with boiling water and stirred.

Place the lavender in the bottom of a demijohn and pour over the honey mixture. Top up with cold water to one gallon. Sprinkle over yeast and yeast nutrient, attach solid rubber bung and shake demijohn. Remove bung and add airlock.

After two months, rack, removing the lavender. Rack again after about 6 months. Ferment out and bottle. Mead will vastly improve if left in the bottle for at least one year.

 

Lavender cordial

"This is an age-old recipe, and most sources agree that it makes for a great summer drink. It is also very easy to do." Andy Hamilton, author

Ingredients

  • 1tbsp lavender flowers
    (Hidcote and Munstead are perfect for this recipe)
  • 500ml / 1 pint of water
  • 100g / 4oz sugar

Equipment

  • 2 saucepans
  • muslin / cheesecloth

Method

Put the sugar into the saucepan and cover with the water, stirring until it has dissolved. Add the lavender flowers and cover, bring to a boil, then take off the hear for a time to allow the lavender flavour to infuse. About thirty minutes will do.

Strain the liquid through a muslin/cheesecloth into another saucepan and bring back to the boil. Keep boiling, stirring continuously until it has reduced to a thick, syrupy consistency.

Take off heat, allow to cool, then decant into sterilised bottles.

Thank you to both Andy and his publisher Transworld for allowing us to reproduce these wonderful recipes. You can find out more about Andy, buy his books and more by visiting:

www.theotherandyhamilton.com/booze-for-free
As ever, if you give any recipe a go, please do write back and tell us all about it!

 

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