Damson Plum Cordial

Plums are good but damson plums are exceptional.  My kitchen cupboards are a richer place for having found some damson trees last week. I couldn’t even reach them all, so I had to leave loads on the trees and mourn what could have been!

I’ve already done jam, jelly, cake, pie, gin, so what next? Well I’ve not tried this cordial recipe before so I thought it was worth a try. Delicious by itself but great as mixer too.

The recipe I first used was from a fab book called Booze for Free, but I have changed the quantities slightly to make the syrup lighter.


  • 1kg Damsons
  • 1.1kg Sugar
  • 1.25 litres water

It an easy recipe… simmer the damsons and water for up to 60 mins until their skins are peeling off. Strain through a muslin cloth. Add the sugar to the remaining liquid that’s strained off, simmer this for 3-4 minutes, skimming off any scum that sits on the surface.

Let it cool then pour into sterilised bottles. How easy was that? It  would make a nice gift if given with a bottle of gin this Christmas.


Lavender Cordial

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If you like elderflower cordial then you might like this. It’s not all old lady’s wardrobes and mothballs, lavender cordial tastes lovely (I promise). All you need is one or two plants to pick flowers from, and they are in most gardens so you don’t have to go far. Easy pickings!

It’s particularly good paired with gin & tonic and really helps one wind down from a stressy day at work. It is well documented that lavender has relaxing properties, so why not drink it’s benefits? The Guardian newspaper had an article on cocktails and mocktails at the weekend and in there was a recipe for lavender syrup with milk, I was a little sceptical about how good it would taste, but I tried it and it actually a tastes lovely, (although having lavender cordial in gin & tonic is still my favourite tipple).

The cordial does not need to be limited to drinks though, great as a syrup over ice cream or as a drizzle over cake, and I’m sure there are an abundance of more creative ways to use it.

The recipe below has adapted part of the Lavender Milk recipe recently published in The Guardian. It is a very simple recipe, I have just increased the quantities so that there is a decent amount to keep stored in the fridge, for whatever purpose you wish.


40 lavender heads
400g sugar
400ml water

Add the water and sugar, stirring occasionally until simmering. Once the sugar has dissolved and you have a clear liquid, turn down the heat, adding the lavender heads, cooking for a further minute. Remove from the heat, allow the lavender and syrup to stand for 40-60 mins. Strain the the syrup and pour into a sterilised bottle (see elderflower cordial recipe for sterilising bottles). Once bottled, keep in the fridge, enjoy.

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