Advice from the Two Thirsty Gardeners, Richard and Nick on what to grow to stock an allotment pub
In our March issue we have an inspiring feature with two chaps known as The thirsty Gardeners. Here we share their ideas for what to plant for allotment tipples and how best to use it.
NETTLES Harvest a kilo of young nettle leaves and simmer in a large pan of water for 10 minutes. Strain the liquid into a bucket, add 3 cups of demerara sugar, the zest and the juice of 3 lemons, then cover. When cooled, add ale yeast and ferment for 3 days before storing in expandable plastic bottles. It’ll be ready to drink a week after bottling – it tastes like a zingy, herbal ginger beer.
MARROW Hollow out the insides of a large marrow from one end, and stuff it with 2½ cups of demerara sugar, a 3cm piece of ginger, 1 tbsp black treacle and the juice of 1 orange. Add red wine yeast. Stand the marrow upright in a bucket. After 4 weeks, poke a hole in the base of the marrow and collect the liquor. Pour into a fermentation jar, fit an airlock and allow fermentation to finish before bottling (around 2 weeks). You’ll get a rummy brew to impress guests.
BEETROOT To make Eastern European beet kvass, place 500g of washed, peeled and chopped beetroot in a fermenting bucket, along with a scant cup of sugar, the juice and zest of 2 lemons, a toasted slice of rye bread (yes, really) and a pinch of caraway seeds. Add ale yeast and leave to ferment quietly for 4 or 5 days. Strain and store in bottles for 2 weeks to mature. The resulting beverage is mildly alcoholic, with a unique, sour tang.
HORSERADISH Scrub, peel and chop a cupful of horseradish root. Add 15 black peppercorns and a spoonful of honey and pour into a jam jar, with a 70cl bottle of vodka. Let marinate for around 3 days before straining and serving.
ROSEMARY Use a sprig or two to liven up a G&T. A stripped rosemary stalk also makes an ideal cocktail muddler
Read more from the Two Thirsty Gardeners in our March issue, in shops now.