Belle Sour

Welcome! You must have seen our feature in the Cambridgeshire Cookbook: Second Helpings, or maybe you just got lost wandering around our site… either way, we hope you will like the cocktail recipe from the book and these accompanying recipes, all by our very own Aoife Maxwell.

To make infused spirits:

Half fill a sterilised Kilner jar or bottle with fruit of choice, add a scant tablespoon of sugar (at most – could leave out completely) and fill with spirit.

Delicate fruits (e.g. rhubarb, raspberry and strawberry) should be infused for about 2 weeks before straining out the fruit and bottling in a sterilised bottle. More robust fruit (e.g. blackcurrant, sloes) is happy for months.

You can add sugar to taste once infusion is complete or add sugar during the cocktail making process using syrups or other sweet alcohol.

Aoife’s top tip: “I often make rhubarb vodka this way but you can now also buy fantastic rhubarb vodka and gin in specialist shops like Cambridge Wine Merchants”

To make simple syrup:

You will need 500 gr. of sugar and 500 ml. of water

Place the sugar and water in a saucepan together. Stir and heat very gently until all the sugar has dissolved.

Using a funnel, pour into a sterilised bottle. Once cool, store in the fridge until needed.

To make herb infused syrups:

You will need a bowlful of fresh herbs, freshly boiled water, and sugar.

Cover the bowl of herbs with freshly boiled water. Allow to infuse for an hour. Strain out the leaves. Strain again through muslin to remove any small bits of leaf or random stuff.
Measure (by volume or mass) the amount of liquid you now have. Add an equal amount of sugar. E.g. if you have 500 ml.  of liquid, add 500 gr. sugar. If you have 400 gr. of liquid, add 400 gr. of sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved (you may need to heat it gently).

Once dissolved, transfer to a sterilised bottle. Store in the fridge.

Aoife’s top tip: “Lots of herbs work well in syrups: lemon balm, lemon verbena, lemon thyme, rosemary, lavender… To make the gooseberry, strawberry and lemon balm  syrup used in the Belle Sour I combined a lemon balm infused syrup made as above with lightly cooked gooseberries and strawberries. I left it to infuse overnight and then strained the mixture several times.”