DIY hot weather drinks: delicious drinks you can make at home

I’m blaming the sunshine for this weeks drinks topic. That and the fact that I have a summer cold. A summer cold is one of those anomalous things, a seasonal mismatch. I imaging people who grew up in the Northern hemisphere feel similarly about celebrating christmas at the height of southern hemisphere summer! I know well how to make myself feel better in dreary November; lots of tea spiked with honey, ginger and whiskey usually does the trick, strictly prescribed hot water bottles, slippers and some of those posh balsam tissues and  regular doses of over the counter remedies. In June and in this heat wave I find myself all at sea; never one to mope around I just had to figure out other ways to make me feel a bit better  and so I though of vitamin C packed lemons and that made me think of lemonade: homemade, honest, lemonade.

making lemonade

Cold or no cold, I love this time of year especially when the air is heavy with blossoms and the sky is blue. This is perfect lemonade weather and jam-packed with immune boosting cold thwarting vitamin C it’s just the tonic. It is also a delightful alternative to commercial fizzy drinks and is a delicious children’s treat. I make up this lemon concentrate and keep it in the fridge and then add still or sparkling water when serving. You can also make a much more grown up version by adding a splash of vodka or top it up with sparkling wine or even ice cold beer…. yum.  It only takes a few minutes to squeeze the lemons, you have no excuse!

Homemade Cloudy Lemonade to make approx 1 liter

Juice of 3 lemons

225ml simple syrup (a 1/4 cup of sugar to 2/3 cup of water, bring to the boil until clear and let cool)

700ml still or sparkling water or sparkling wine

Mix all ingredients together in a large jug filled with ice, or mix the lemon juice with the simple syrup and leave it in the fridge and add still or sparkling water  or sparkling wine when every you want some.


Next on my list of fab summer drinks is ice tea

Savannah Georgia peroid home

A couple of years ago I spent a month in Savannah Georgia. Savannah sighs in the sunshine and is all sundowners on verandahs while curled up on  porch swings sipping never-ending sweet tea. Considering we have such a love of tea in Ireland I find it hard to believe we haven’t embraced ice tea, and not the pre bottles sugar laden variety. Below is my recipe for perfect ice tea best served fresh brewed but will keep for a few days in in fridge. I adore tea in all shapes and forms but my go to everyday tea is Barry’s Gold blend. I love Barry’s tea so much  I’ve bought personalised boxes of tea for all my family.  I’m also a big fan of the fact that it is blended in Ireland by master tea blender Denis Daly and has a history of tea blending since 1901. Obviously tea doesn’t grow in Ireland but Barry’s is really the closest thing we have to a truly Irish tea and check out their website for tea related gifts they have a great range of “TEA”- shirts!

Personalised box of barry's tea, check out their online shop for lovely tea gifts!
It’s not Barry’s Tea, it’s Judy’s tea!

I like my ice tea not too sweet and with some mint and lemon. It’s also great with a slice of orange and a dash or two of whiskey or bourbon or if you are one for milky tea why not try it over vanilla ice cream?

delish with some lemon and mint!
delish with some lemon and mint!

Ice Tea

1 pot strong Barry’s tea

Brown sugar to taste

Fresh mint and lemon slices to serve

Lots of ice

I add the sugar while the tea is still hot so it disolves. Then if I have time I let this get cold, if not I pour it straight over lots of ice to chill it and add mint and lemon…yum!


Beer o’clock? more like beer o’cocktail!

The world of beer cocktails is pretty new to me. At the Alltech International Craft Brews and Food Fair earlier this year I tasted a couple of JW Sweetman’s concoctions which didn’t rock my world. But the week before last I tasted a really fun take on a French 75 topped up with Blue Moon Summer Honey Wheat rather than champagne at House in Dublin made by Des McCann and this got me thinking about beer cocktails again. I think the trick is not to be too fancy and to work with flavours that you know go together so I came up with this recipe below. Ginger beer is a classic old school drink that I have often made at home. My grandmother used to make it for me when I was little and I was enthralled by the ritual of feeding the ginger beer plant and the magic of fermentation that results in bubbles. This take on ginger beer lets someone else do the brewing for you and the ginger and lime and beer combination is super refreshing!

Give it a go and let me know what you think!

Beer Ginger cocktail

juice of half a lime

1/2 inch piece of fresh root ginger grated finely

splash of brown sugar syrup ( 1 cup brown sugar to 2 cups water heated until its clear, then leave to cool)


My resident beer sommelier suggests Carlsberg is a good easy to get macro brewery choice, Peroni brings a little more citrus to the party and grolsch would be a good choice too!

Mix lime juice and ginger with the syrup, strain over ice and top up with beer!


Disclaimer: I taste lots of drinks at trade events and I am always looking for stand-out great products with interesting stories that I can pass on to you lovely readers and viewers. Along side theses tastings I also buy lots of things that tickle my fancy. I taste and select the products I want to feature on Late Lunch and here on my website. For or the purposes of my television slot, I request product samples to use on air. I aim to maintain my objectivity, I am guided only by my taste buds and I am not paid to endorse particular products.



If I was getting married I’ d go Elderflower foraging!



Have I told you I love free things? I especially love free things that taste really expensive and fresh and delicious and grow right outside my window. Elder is one of those things Elder is so very versatile, both the flowers and the berries are incredible useful and readily available. Big flowery perfumed elderflower is right in season. Pick it as early as you can and ideally on a dry day. So its time to grab a scissors and a basket and get foraging. Brides to be, collect elderflower! Elderflower cordial is a magic ingredient and a splash of it in any sparkling wine turns a welcome drink into a really special cocktail. Its also a cinch to make, I’ve used this recipe here year after year. I will add that if you are foraging its important not to be too gready, we have other things to eat but birds will miss out on elderberries later in the season if the elderflowers are stripped. Rule of thumb is forage up to a third of what you find and leave the rest.

Now, ff you don’t fancy making your own, Check out gorgeous Richmount Cordials.

This week on my Late Lunch Live Drinks I will be featuring Elderflower drinks.

Lots of producers have cottoned on to wonderful Elderflower. Fevertree have a super hand-picked elderflower tonic water that makes even a humble G&T extrodinary.


Kopparberg has a new lime and elderflower cider.


I will be showcasing a homemade elderflower fizz. I used Darina Allen’s recipe from her Forgotten Skills of Cooking book.  Darina published the recipe on her blog here. I was just down in Ballymaloe for the literary festival of food and wine in was so inspired that it made sense to feature elderflower this week.

We’re also tasting 2 delicious St. Germaine cocktails. St. Germain is french elderflower liqueur that is truly yum! I’m making a Parisian Daiquiri and The Royale!


Parisian Daiquiri

40ml Bacardi Superior rum

20ml St Germain liqueur

20ml fresh lime juice

1 spoon of castor sugar or simple syrup

Add all ingredients into a shaker with cubed ice, shake well and strain into a chilled martini or coupé glass.

Garnish with a wedge of fresh lime and a small bunch of elderflower.


The Royale

25ml St Germain

25ml Martini Bianco

20ml fresh lime juice

Top with chilled Soda water


Take a large wine glass and add all ingredients except soda water. Add cubed ice and stir well. Fill glass with ice and top with chilled soda water.

Garnish with a lime wheel and a bunch of fresh mint or a rose petal!

Gluten free beer on Late Lunch Live 14.05.14

This week is coeliac awareness week, (or celiac if we’re doing a US spelling test ;-). So what better excuse  do I need to taste a few fab gluten-free beers?

In case you are wondering what gluten is…. don’t worry; you are not alone!

Joking aside, sadly many people who are diagnosed with coeliac disease or a gluten intolerance belive beer is a no-go as most beers are made from barley and barley contains the composite protein gluten 😦

Big news! It’s possible to have delicious beer that is also coeliac friendly, let me tell you how….

Gluten free beer tends to be made on one of two ways

1. Beer can be brewed with grains that are naturally gluten-free such as rice, maize, buckwheat or sorghum (many macro largers are brewed with rice and of course many asian brews)


2. the gluten can be removed: as luck would have it the gluten molecule is actually pretty big so it can be filtered from barely or wheat or even rye based beers. To be approved as safe for those following a gluten-free diet, the beer just has to have to have less than 20 gluten parts per million.

So where can you get coeliac friendly beer in Ireland?

Well , lots of places!!! Yay!!!

I got in touch with the Deans (there are two of them McGuinness and Clarke)  at Beer Heaven. They supply a huge selection of  interesting and damn tasty beers from all over the world to all over Ireland.  These are the guys to answer any beer questions. I knew they’d point me in the right direction.

Dean Clarke told me gluten-free beer is available country wide…yes…get that COUNTRYWIDE in lots of restaurants and off-licences up and down the land. Yay!  Especially brilliant considering how many people in Ireland have coeliac disease, it’s us and the Basque country with highest rates of coeliac disease in the world if I’m to believe wikipedia. I think our tiny gene pool probably had a role to play in that.

I digress…. back on track,  the gluten-free beer tastes great! Dean also said that if you can’t find it, ask to have it ordered in. I’m a firm believer that the consumer should set the agenda for what’s in shops. Rise up people! Gluten-free beer drinkers unite! Your local independent off-licence would love to make you happy and stock the beer you want! What’s more, mention it next time you’re in a bar or out for dinner, your bar tender is not a mind reader, let them know and you’d never know what will be on the shelves by next weekend!

If you are interested in  research about gluten-free products and coeliac disease Cork is where it’s at! Both Cork Institute of Technology and University College Cork at the School of Food and Nutritional Sciences  are working and researching extensively on gluten, gluten-free products and coeliac disease. If you fancy a read, check out this paper from Dr. Elke Arendt!

So this week on TV3 ‘s  Late Lunch Live’s drinks slot I’m featuring 3 gluten-free beers. Stockists ( ‘cos the list is loooong which is great!) are at the end!

This is the first larger in the world brewed to combine 3 unique elements it’s fair trade, organic and gluten free!

This easy drinking beer has a mild, slightly bitter, hoppy flavour.

It is brewed using organic malt, organic hops and fair trade organic rice

RRP €2.99-ish

Mongozo Pilsner

Wold Top Against The Grain: Uk, YorkshireWold Top Against The Grain has been declared the most beer like of all gluten free & low gluten free beers in taste tests. Made from lager malt, maize, hops & yeast, it is a premium full flavoured bitter beer with a good creamy head, refreshing bitterness and citrus aftertaste. The gluten content is certified to be well below the required codex standard of 20 ppm
RRP €3.99-ish
against the grain
Omission IPA USA: Portland, OR. The first IPA brewed with traditional beer ingredients that is specially crafted to remove gluten.This IPA is brewed with malted barley in the traditional Northwest IPA style. The beer uses a generous amount of Summit and Cascade hops giving it a beautiful citrus flavor and aroma. wow! I LOVE this beer, it tastes just like proper beer, Omission are dead right, “it’s not what they take out it’s what they leave in”RRP €2.99Omission IPAStockists
Mongazo Pilsner
Jus De Vine Off Licence, Portmarnock
The Woolshed, Parnell Stree
Koh Restaurant, Dublin 1
Zucchinis Restaurant, Navan, Co Meath
Yamamori Izakaya, Georges Street, Dublin 2
Molloys, Clonsilla
Molloys, Francis Street
Bradley’s Supermarket, Cork City, Cork
Castle Street Off Licence, Tralee, Co Kerry
Matsons Wines, Bandon, Co Cork
The Bierhouse, Cork
Desmond’s Next Door, Raheen, Limerick
Myles Creek, Next Door, Kilkee, Clare
Matsons Grange, Douglas, Cork
Tom Ryans Bar, Waterford
Thai Spice, Talbot Place, Dublin1
Red Torch Ginger, South Andrew Street, Dublin 2
Baggot Street Wines, Baggot Street, Dublin 2
Lotus Restaurant and Off Licence, Wexford
Blackrock Cellars Off Licence, Blackrock
Next Door, Sundrive Road, Dublin 12
Kavanagh’s Off Licence, Lower Dorset Street, Dublin 1
Saba, Clarendon Street, Dublin 2
McSorleys, Ranelagh, Dublin 6
Against the Grain
Egan’s Food and Wine, Portlaoise, Co Laois
Fibber Magees, Parnell Street, Dublin 1
The Merrion Inn, Booterstown, Co Dublin
The Hole in the Wall, Blackhorse Avenue, Dublin 3
The Brew Dock, Amien St, Dublin 1
The Central Bar, Navan, Co Meath
Next Door, Meath Street, Dublin
Joe Mayes, Skerries, Co Dublin
Conrad Hotel, Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin 2
Whelan’s, Wexford Street, Dublin 2
Corks Off Licence, Terenure
Deveneys, Rathmines
The Comet, Santry
Kellys Wine Vault, Clontarf
Lord Mayor Pub and Off Licence, Swords
Martins Off Licence, Fairview, Dublin 3
Redmonds of Ranelagh
Callans of Dundalk
Delaneys, Angier Street, Dublin
Sweeney’s Wine Merchants, Phibsboro
Against the Grain, Wexford Street
The Black Sheep, Capel Street
Ice Box, Finglas
Probus Wines, Fenian Street, Dublin2
The Malthouse, Trim, Co Meath
Mitchell & Son, IFSC, Docklands
Nealons, Capel Street
McHugh Off Licence, Malahide Road
Molloy, Tallaght
Molloy, Nutgrove
Molloy, Crumlin
Molloy, Clonsilla
McHugh Off Licence, Kilbarrack
Molloy, Francis Street
Lohan’s Bar and Off Licence, Next Door, Salthill, Galway
Next Door, Forum, Waterford
World Wide Wines, Waterford
Dicey Reilly Bar and Off Licence, Ballyshannon, Donegal
Clada, Galway
Fine Wines Head Office
Matsons Wines, Bandon, Cork
The Slate bar, Cork
Desmond’s, Next Door, Raheen, Limerick
Coopers, Cahir
Next Door, Shannon, Clare
The Highway bar, Limerick
Tom Ryans Bar, Waterford
The Seanachi, Kinsale, Cork
The Merrion Hotel, Dublin 2
Timothy Crowes Next Door, Dublin 12
Dwans Off Licence, Ballycullen, Dublin 16
Foleys Off Licence, Sligo
Baggot Street Wines, Baggot Street, Dublin2
Centra, Enfield
Lotus Restaurant and Off licence, Wexford
Blackrock Cellars Off Licence, Blackrock
Boyles Next Door, Kildare
Next Door, Sundrive Road, Dublin 12
Fitzgeralds of Sandycove, Dub Laoghaire
The Hungry Monk, Greystones, Wicklow
Kavanagh’s Off Licence, Lower Dorset Street, Dublin 1
The Sky and the Ground, Wexford
Bewleys, Leopardstown
Murrays Bar, Kilmainham, Dublin 8
Omission IPA.… it’s just too new! It’s only in 2 shops this week (wonder where they are?) I’ll update ASAP when I get the other stockists!