Late Summer Cocktails, anyone?!

Maddy Harland
Friday, 6th September 2013

Maddy learns how to make inexpensive cocktails with a delicious home-grown twist with Mark Diacono and Steve Lamb.

Last July I spoke at the Grow It Yourself Gathering in Birmingham. It was a really inspiring day and I met some wonderful gardeners who transform community spaces and grow all sorts of new crops. I also met the marvellous and funny, Mark Diacono and Steve Lamb, who were both really entertaining as well as knowledgeable.

One of their sessions was about how to make summer punches from ingredients in the garden and a little bit of bought-in alcohol (if you don't brew your own). We sampled a couple of mixtures and I was impressed by the flavours and quantities achieved from relatively inexpensive ingredients. So, in the spirit of prolonging summer through September, here are the recipes. They are not given in measurements - I just jotted them down - so you'll have to experiment! 

Summer Fruit Cocktail

Strawberries cut into pieces

Sugar to taste

Lemon juice

Lemon slices

A handful of lemon verbena

Crushed Sechuan or Nepalese pepper

Crushed ice


Inexpensive or home-made white wine

'Marinate' the strawberries in sugar and then mash them up. Mix all the ingredients together, add more sugar to taste if necessary and share with friends as the sun goes down. The Sechuan or Nepalese pepper can be grown in cool temperate climates (we have a Nepalese pepper tree and collect the corns every autumn and dry them). Both the pepper and the lemon verbena add a delicious twist to the flavour but if you don't have them try other piquant and aromatic herbs.

Minty Apple Mojito

White rum


(Morrocan) mint

Cloudy apple juice


Soda water

Lots of crushed ice

Mash the sugar, lime juice and mint together. Add rum and apple juice. Add the crushed ice and top up with soda water to taste. Invite your friends round, put on some reggae and get that Carribean feeling!

Maddy Harland co-founded and edits internationally acclaimed, Permaculture magazine – practical solutions for self-reliance

To find out more about GIY visit

Further resources

How to make cordials, naturally

Apple wine recipe

Medlar curd, wine and a recipe for medlar jelly