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Cocktail of the Week | Cucumber & Thyme Spritz

As we have finally hit summer with the temperatures hitting 33 degrees, it was time to find a refreshing drink for this week’s cocktail of the week.  Once again taking inspiration from the garden, where our cucumber plant has just started to flower, and the spirits we have in the cupboard we stumbled on a Cucumber and Thyme spritz.

This is not your usual cocktail combination, but that is the joy of cocktails, a little bit of experimentation. It is also one of the things Calum enjoys about cooking.  Needless to say, experimentation does not always work, but it does give you some great and, sometimes, surprising results. The only thing to remember when you are experimenting is to write down what you do, if you don’t and it turns out great, you won’t be able to recreate it!  We found this drink on and thought it was a good use of the ingredients we are growing in the garden and an opportunity to use up some more of the vodka collection Calum has amassed over the years!

For this weeks cocktail, you will need:

  • One measure of dry vermouth
  • One measure of vodka (as we used a Belvedere recipe, we thought it right to use Belvedere)
  • Soda water
  • Tonic water
  • Three ribbons of cucumber
  • One sprig of thyme
  • Ice

To create the drink, place the tall glass you intend to use in the fridge to chill them.  Take the cucumber and peel across the length to create the ribbons. Take the glass from the fridge and place the cucumber and thyme in the glass followed by a handful of ice.  Pour in the measure of dry vermouth, the measure of vodka and use equal parts of tonic water and soda water to fill the glass. Once full, give the mix a little stir and there you have this weeks cocktail, a Cucumber and Thyme Spritz.

We found the cocktail to be a good savoury drink, if a little drier than we normally would like.  It is certainly a summer drink to enjoy on a hot afternoon to keep your sprits up when drinking cocktails!

Cucumber & Thyme Spritz

<Orchard Blog | Cucumber & Thyme Spritz/div>

21st July 2016

Cocktail of the Week | Water Lily

This week we decided to be a bit more adventurous with our cocktail of the week and decided to open the Crème de Violette we bought on our recent trip to France.  The issue with using the Crème de Violette was hunting down a suitable cocktail to use it in, this was no easy task! We finally came across a drink known as a ‘Water Lily’ on and thought it was worth a try, mainly as it meant we could try the bottle of Cointreau we picked up in Angers!

Crème de Violette is a French liqueur traditionally made with natural violet flower flavouring and has a brandy or plain spirit base. It has a distinctive floral taste that can overpower most flavours. In researching ideas for the cocktail this week, it became apparent that it is also a difficult liqueur to obtain and it seems very few drinks use it as a key ingredient as a result. It also appears that its rarity was a plot point in a 1965 episode of the Avengers. The good thing about the research we do to bring you our Cocktail of the Week is that it throws up a large number of random, but mildly interesting facts.  On the plus side, we have also found other another cocktail to try!

For the Water lily cocktail you will need a;

  • Measure of triple sec (we used Cointreau)
  • Measure of Crème de Violette
  • Measure of fresh lemon juice
  • Measure of gin
  • Twist of orange, for the garnish

Using a cocktail shaker, pour the triple sec, crème de violette, lemon juice and gin into a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake for a few minutes.   Strain the mix into a glass and garnish with the twist.

And that is this week’s cocktail! The distinctive floral taste certainly comes through strongly and tastes very much like the violet sweets that you used to get in a pick’n’mix bag thinking they were Refreshers, but were always left disappointed! As a cocktail, it makes up for those years of disappointment!

Water Lily

Orchard Blog | Water Lily
14th July 2016

Cocktail of the Week | Lingonberry Collins

There is really only one thing to say about the 24th June 2016, MIDSOMMAR! If you needed an excuse to have a cocktail, this excuse goes without saying! The Swedes enjoy a drink and Midsommar is the start of making the most of the warmth and sun! To be fair, winter is as good a time to enjoy a drink as well!

One of the most prevalent and probably, easily recognisable Swedish fruits is the lingonberry. It is a key ingredient in many dishes. You are likely to have had a lingonberry jam at Ikea when you stop to have meatballs in the restaurant. We bought a bottle of lingonberry syrup  on a recent trip to Ikea and tried to think of a suitable cocktail to use it with. After some thinking, and a rummage in the drinks box, we decided the best drink to make the most of the flavour would be a Collins based drink. Digging out the Vodka Collins recipe from a few weeks ago, we adapted it slightly to work for the lingonberry. It was handy to learn that this cocktail is quite versatile.

For the cocktail of the week, you will need:

  • A tall Collins glass
  • 1 Measure of lingonberry syrup
  • 2 Measures of vodka
  • ½ measure of lemon juice
  • Soda water
  • Ice

Start by adding the ice to the glass and adding the measure of lingonberry, followed by the vodka and lemon juice. Stir to mix the drink before adding the soda water to fill the glass. We did not use sugar syrup for this drink, as the sugar in the lingonberry was sufficient to compensate for it. We used a jug to make this cocktail as a welcome drink for the Midsommar dinner party we had with our friends and multiplied the mix by four.

There you have a Lingonberry Collins, our fusion of a vodka Collins and a Swedish staple. It was certainly one way to start the summer off in style!


Lingonberry Collins

Orchard Blog | Lingonberry Collins
30th June 2016

Cocktail of the Week | Elderflower Martini

Inspiration for cocktail of the week comes from a few places. At the minute it is mainly the garden. In Rich’s parents garden there is a fantastic elder tree that has recently gone into flower and it now covered in white elderflowers. We tend to use elderflower in a few things, oh alright, mainly drinks! We wanted to try something that would give us a good flavour of the elderflower and little else. The best thing for that was to have an Elderflower Martini!

There is no record of where a martini first came to life, but there are a fair few versions that are similar to what we know as a martini. It is thought that the brand Martini did some successful marketing in the 1860s and ended up with the drink named after them. I think I prefer the theory that the cocktail was first created by a bartender in the town of Martinez and the drink named after the town. Regardless of the source, it became a very popular drink in the USA during the 1920s prohibition due to the ease of manufacturing illegal gin. To settle any argument, a classic martini contains gin! The vodka martini first appeared in the 1930s and were popularised by James Bond.  Also, on no account should a gin martini be shaken!

For this week’s cocktail, you will need:

  • ½ Measure of Elderflower Liqueur
  • Teaspoon of dry vermouth
  • 2 measures of gin

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add the vermouth. Shake to cool the vermouth and pour into the glass. If you prefer a drier martini, you can do what Winston Churchill did and face France and bow before adding the gin. Swirl the vermouth in the glass to coat the surfaces. Add the elderflower liqueur. Then and some ice to a clean cocktail shaker pour in the gin and stir. Once the gin is sufficiently cooled, pour it into the glass.  You can then garnish how you like, as we used elderflower, we chose not to add a garnish.

There you have it, the elderflower martini. Now sit back, enjoy and if you need it drier, do what Winston would have done and tip the glass to France.

Elderflower Martini



Orchard Blog | Elderflower Martini</>div

16th June 2016

Cocktail of the Week | Raspberry Collins

This week we dived into the drinks cabinet to try find a bottle that was nearly finished to create our cocktail of the week. It is tough all this cocktail drinking! It is however, quite fun learning about cocktails and we will continue with the hardship of creating and sampling drinks from our random collection of spirits for you. Who knows, we might actually get good at this. In the drinks cabinet we found a bottle of Absolut Raspberry Vodka that was nearly finished. We did little bit of research to see if there was anything we could use it for and we came across the Raspberry Collins. This drink comes from the ‘Collins’ cocktail family and there appears to be many relations in this family. We will have to try these in the future.

For this weeks cocktail, you will need:

  • 1 measure of simple syrup
  • 1/2 measure of fresh lemon juice
  • 2 measures raspberry vodka
  • soda water
  • raspberries

Firstly, if you have not made a syrup before it really is simple. To make ours, we add 300 grams of sugar 60 ml of water, place it over heat and stir until it is a clear liquid. As it cools it will come a thick liquid.

To prepare the drink, start by adding some ice to a tall glass, add the syrup, lemon juice and vodka to the glass and stir well to mix them together. Fill the rest of the glass with soda water and garnish with a few raspberries. That’s it, you now have a Raspberry Collins.

The drink is refreshing and very easy to make. You can make this in a jug quite easily by multiplying the ingredients for number of people you are making it for. Perfect for an evening of drinks in the garden with friends. It will certainly be on our repertoire of cocktails in future.

Raspberry Collins

Orchard Blog | Raspberry Collins
9th June 2016

Cocktail of the Week | Strawberry Mojito

With the weather getting warmer we decided that it would be a good time to start putting the summer cocktails to the test.  Whilst a traditional mojito hails from Cuba, we thought we would try out a mojito with a summer fruit that is a British favourite, the strawberry.  I am not sure what Ernest Hemingway would make of this (a classic mojito was rumoured to be his favourite drink), I can only assume he would approve.

For this week’s cocktail, You will need;

  • The juice from one lime
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar syrup
  • 1/2 lime cut into quarters (the other half for garnish)
  • 6 strawberries (one for garnish)
  • Mint (plus a sprig for garnish)
  • 1 measure of rum
  • Soda water
  • Ice

The basics of this Strawberry Mojito is the same as a classic mojito, with a few strawberries thrown in during the muddling stage.  To start, you will need to mix the half lime, strawberries, mint and 2 teaspoons of sugar syrup.  Using a muddle, apply pressure to all the ingredients to mix them together.  You should be able to remove the lime juice and pulp, along with turning the strawberries into a mush.  If you don’t have a muddle, would can use the back of a spoon.

In a glass put some ice, add in a measure of white rum, the juice from a lime and pour in some of the muddled juice.  We used a sieve to remove the bits from the juice.  Fill the rest of the glass with soda water and garnish with the remaining lime, strawberry and mint.

You are now ready to sit back and enjoy the Cocktail of the Week.  You just need to pretend that you are enjoying the warm evening sunshine, sat on the beach in Havana, sipping a refreshing citrus flavoured Strawberry Mojito.  Not the easiest of things to do whilst sat in a Surrey garden on an average spring day, but worth a go!

Strawberry Mojito

Orchard Blog | Strawberry Mojito
26th May 2016

Cocktail of the Week | Classic Gin & Tonic

Let’s be honest a G&T is only borderline a cocktail. Having said that we both have strong feelings about what makes the perfect gin and tonic so we thought we’d include it:

  • 1 measure Gin
  • 3 measure Tonic
  • Lemon to garnish
  • Ice

So let’s start with the basics. First things first, the gin. Gin has had a renaissance recently, and there are hundreds to choose from all with slightly different tastes depending on the botanicals they use. Everyone will have their favourite brand, ours is Tanquerey.  To our minds this is a most gin-y of the gins, the juniper flavour being suitable strong and it having a bit of citrus edge.

Secondly you need to have good tonic, there is nothing worse than a G&T with flat tonic water.  Our Tonic of choice is Fevertree, but failing that schweppes is fine. Buy your tonic in individual bottles or cans, that way you get the freshest, sparkliest tonic for your drink.

You need lots of ice, at least 4 ice cubes, and we opt of the classic lemon as a garnish as lime can be a bit overpowering in it’s flavour.

And there we have it, our perfect Gin & Tonic.

Cocktail of the Week | Gin & Tonic

Orchard Blog | Gin & Tonic
19th May 2016

Cocktail of the Week | Rhubarb Fizz

In the back of our cocktail cabinet we found a bottle of Chase’s Rhubarb Vodka as it is Rhubarb season we thought we might try and use it in our Cocktail of the week – Rhubarb Fizz!

  • 1 tbsp Rhubarb Syrup (see recipe below)
  • ½ Measure Rhubarb Vodka
  • Sparking Wine

To make the Rhubarb Syrup you will need 4 stems of rhubarb, 300ml water and 250g of caster sugar. Slice the rhubarb into small chunks, place this in a heavy bottomed pan with the water and sugar. Bring to the boil and then turn down to simmer for about 20 minutes, occasionally stirring. Once the syrup has thickened you will need to sieve out the solids using a fine sieve or a muslin cloth and collect the very pretty liquid for use in the cocktail.

Put the rhubarb syrop and the vodka in the bottom of a champagne flute and then fill with cold sparking wine. Enjoy!

Cocktail of the Week | Rhubarb Fizz

A lovely cocktail using rhubarb syrup and rhubarb vodka. Enjoy!
12th May 2016

Cocktail of the Week | Perfect Pimm’s

Our cocktail of the week is a good old fashioned Pimm’s No1 Cup. The first Pimm’s of the season is a sure sigh Summer is on it’s way. It is a pretty simple recipe:

  • 1 measure Pimm’s Nº1
  • 3 measures lemonade (Americans that is what you’d call Lemon soda or Sprite)
  • Orange, Cucumber, Apple, Strawberries and Mint to garnish.

Mix ingredients and serve with plenty of ice and sunshine! Or to really get the party started add in some extra gin!

Enjoy Pimm’s o’clock!

Cocktail of the Week | Perfect Pimm's

How to make the Perfect Pimm's, the ultimate summer cocktail!
5th May 2016

Cocktail of the Week | Spring Orchard

This week we continue to delves into the depths of our cocktail cabinet to create new and interesting drinks.  We discovered some Absolut Pear vodka, and decided to created an orchard themed cocktail to celebrate our new blog!   It is a refreshing and light drink that is very easy to drink, perfect for sunny spring days! Recipe as follows:

  • 2 measures pear vodka
  • ½ measure elderflower liqueur
  • 2 measure Pear & apple juice
  • ¼ measure fresh lemon juice 
  • Soda water to fill

Pour ingredients into a tall glass over ice, use a slice of fresh pear as garnish.

We hope you enjoy, and if you have any suggestions let us know in the comments.

Cocktail of the Week | Spring Orchard

a lovely spring cocktail for when the weather gets nice!,/div>


28th April 2016