Blackcurrant Cordial: fruity, tart, sweet and laced with vanilla. A step up from regular squash that will please kids and adults alike. Top with water, soda or Sparkling wine. Easy to make, freezable and a great way to use up surplus fruit.
The long summer break from school is only a few weeks away now, so my attention is turning to the fun that’s in store for my family this summer. I’m also thinking back to the things we’ve got up to together over the last few summers.
For the last two years we’ve headed to France for our holiday. As a family we have a soft spot for the syrups that often appear on café menus in France. Technically, these syrups are not much different to our traditional cordials (aka squash). I say technically, because these French syrups just seem much more of a treat. They seem richer and fuller in flavour. And, unlike the UK, these syrups come in a dazzling array of flavours.
In fact, one of my favourite parts of holidaying in France is watching my girls, on their first café visit of the holiday, trying to decide between those flavours. Will they pick lemon, lime, raspberry, peach, mint, strawberry, blackcurrant, cherry, grenadine or grapefruit… phew? It’s quite a list to choose from and when you’re a kid, isn’t being spoiled for choice and completely unable to decide the best part of picking out a treat?
This year we are not hopping over the Channel to France, so I decided to make my own version of fruit syrup. I plumped for a variation on our national hero, Blackcurrant Cordial, since blackcurrants are so synonymous with the British Summer (which, incidentally, is still in hiding). My Blackcurrant Cordial is fruity, tart & sweet all in one go. And I’ve laced it with sweet, mellow vanilla to make the flavour a little more exciting. It is dark, punchy and vibrant – definitely a step up from regular squash.
My Blackcurrant Cordial with Vanilla is a great way to use up a surplus of fruit that would otherwise go to waste. It can even be made with blackcurrants that have previously been frozen or ones that are getting a little on the squishy side. Once made, the cordial will keep, refrigerated, for around a month. And bonus – it can also be frozen and defrosted for later use.
It’s also very easy to make, requires only 4 ingredients and can be used in a multitude of ways:
- go traditional and serve it over ice topped up with water
- try adding sparkling water or cream soda for a change
- get swish – make ice cubes with edible flowers in them or drop a few fresh blackcurrants into the glass to bob around
- top with hot water for a comforting warm drink on a chilly day
- if you fancy a tipple, drop a little into a champagne flute and top with sparkling wine (or champagne)
Just one more thing – did I mention that this Blackcurrant Cordial can also be used to make a particularly stylish Blackcurrant & Vanilla Mojito? Check back later this week to catch the recipe (or sign-up to get email notifications whenever I publish a new recipe).
Blackcurrant Cordial: fruity, tart, sweet and laced with vanilla. A step up from regular squash that will please kids and adults alike. Top with water, soda or Sparkling wine. Easy to make, freezable and a great way to use up surplus fruit. Makes approx 450ml
- 300 g/ 10 1/2 oz Blackcurrants (fresh or frozen)
- 160 g/ 5 1/2 oz Caster sugar
- 320 ml/ 1 1/3 cup Water
- 2 Vanilla pods (optional)
Put the blackcurrants into a saucepan
If using - split the vanilla pods and scrap the seeds into the pan. Add the pods
Sprinkle the sugar over the fruit
Pour in the water
Allow the sugar to dissolve over a moderate heat, then bring the liquid to simmering point, squashing the fruit with the back of a wooden spoon as it heats
Remove from the heat and cool for 20 minutes before straining through a sieve
Optional: Strain the liquid through a muslin cloth to remove any small pieces of fruit that may have passed through the sieve
Let cool completely, the store in the fridge for up to 1 month or freeze in small batches