Homemade drinks for a heatwave

At the moment in the UK we are experiencing a heatwave. That is, temperatures spiked yesterday at 30 degrees C where we live (nearly 37 degrees in London). As we’re just not used to the heat we are trying to be very sensible and stay indoors, wear hats and sunscreen at school and drink lots of water and other cooling beverages.

With this in mind I have been experimenting with some homemade (and plastic free as it is Plastic Free July) drinks. Following a recent trip to our local Pick Your Own farm (more about that soon) we have ended up with lots of strawberries. So yesterday I whizzed them up in our blender with icing sugar, coconut butter and lots of milk. I could have served this as a smoothie but decided to strain the pulp and – lo and behold – we had ‘pink milk’, which was delicious! Next time I would make double the quantity as it went down very fast.


Remembering that we also had some lemons I dug out my favourite Cranks recipe book and followed their instructions for homemade lemonade. I love the Cranks recipe books. Once upon a time Cranks was a pioneering vegetarian restaurant located in Devon and London. Their recipe books date from the early eighties and, although full of what I would call ‘worthy’ ingredients, their dishes are ones I have cooked again and again.

In the ‘Entertaining with Cranks’ book there is a section on drinks which includes recipes such as ‘Tomato Juice Cocktail’ and non-alcoholic ‘Cider Punch’. However I decided to follow the instructions for the homemade lemonade. The recipe is very simple:

4 x lemons

60z/175g raw brown sugar

1 1/2 pints/900 ml boiling water

Halve and squeeze lemons, add them to sugar in a big pan and pour 1/2 pint hot water over. Boil under sugar dissolves then add remaining boiling water. Add the lemon halves. Stir, then cover and leave to cool. When cooled strain through a sieve.

I don’t have raw brown sugar so used soft brown sugar instead, which gave it a brown look (rather like cold tea). Next time I would use caster sugar and maybe a little less as it was quite sweet. Of course the lemonade wasn’t carbonated, but once chilled in the fridge, it was so refreshing!

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