This recipe was born out of wanting to create a drink that had the essence of Pimm’s but was made from the garden. It is all about its wild ingredients: herbs that you can find in the garden or in the hedgerows, and the season’s berries. It’s heavily focused on the pineapple weed, which is a camomile picked locally. Like all weeds it grows everywhere and is really abundant but you have to know what you’re looking for. Once you do, you’ll know you have the right thing: pick it, crush and smell it and it should smell of the scent of pineapple.
The cocktail has a very floral flavour and is full of sweet notes but they’re sweet in very different ways. The fennel adds a honey-ish aniseed flavour to the pineapple, while the lemon balm and rosemary give it a hint of savoury, and the mint is a high note. Mixed with seasonal berries, and some soda water if you want to lengthen it, the name sums it up – it’s summer in a cup.
1 litre water
50g caster sugar
50g pineapple weed, mainly the top
10g fennel fronds, ideally wild
10g lemon balm
400g mixed berries (blackberries, blueberries, redcurrants, raspberries, blackcurrants)
250ml fresh apple juice
juice of ¼ lemon
soda water, to serve
Bring the water to a boil in a pan. Add the sugar and stir to dissolve, then boil for about 2–3 minutes, until you have a light syrup. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
Roughly chop all the herbs and berries, put them into a large bowl or jug and add the apple and lemon juice and cooled syrup. Stir well then transfer to an airtight container and leave to infuse for 2 days.
Before serving, pass the mixture through a fine sieve. The infused mixture can be quite strong on its own, so it can be topped up with soda water if you prefer. It’s nice with a good glug of gin too if you’re looking to serve an alcoholic cocktail.