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.



The sun is shining.. that must mean cider!


It is amazing! As soon as the sun come out in Ireland (and to be honest that doesn’t happen too often) we have a pavlovian response to crave cider. I think we can thank a very well marketed commercial cider brand for that. The excellent thing about that cider is that it whetted our palates for lots of lovely artisan ciders. These crafted ciders; full to the brim with apple-y yum-ness, are incredibly delicious, work well with food and really are the closest thing we have to Irish wine.

Like wine, cider is a fermented rather than a brewed beverage. There are many cider makers selecting apple varieties and blending juices with the same care an attention to detail that wine makers approach making wine, some even produce vintage cider celebrating the uniqueness of each year’s harvest. The Orpens Cider guys have a background and history in wine and there is even a wine maker making cider in Ireland. Simon Tyrrell makes very fine wine in the Rhône Valley and with Angus Craigie produces Cragies Irish Cider.

Cragies produce 2 ciders in very contrasting styles, Ballyhook flyer and Dalliance.

Ballyhook flyer takes its name form the original Ballyhook flyer, If the legend is to be believed the finest machine to have ever entered the Grangecon Soapbox Derby, below is a photos of it hanging in the Big Shed at the Ballymaloe literary festival of food and wine.


Can you tell from the photo that it’s suspended from the ceiling?

Ballyhook flyer (500ml RRP  €4.50-€5 ABV5.8% ) 2012 is a made from a mixture of Dabinett, Katy, and Bramley apples, sourced from dedicated apple growers in Co.Waterford, Co.Tipperary and Co. Kilkenny. It is a crisp, fruity off dry cider with a lovely savoury note which makes it a great match for cheeses, pork and chicken dishes.

Dalliance ( 375ml €4.49- €5 ABV 5.8%) is a totally different style, I like to drink it as you would a sparkling wine or prosecco, dry, fresh, crisp  green apples flavours  with a lovely perfumed apple blossom on toast nose.I sounds a bit of an odd description but nose it and see!) It’s gorgeous and would be a super and unique wedding welcome reception drink. It’s made exclusivly from desert apples and is left to rest on its fermentation lees for 18months before bottling, apparently it’s all set to age for up to 24 months in bottle.

Orpens Cider (375ml  €2.69 ABV 5.3) 

Orpens fruit is carefully selected from quality orchards that produce a balanced range of apple varieties. The apples are fermented to cider as single batches and blended together to create a signature style. The result is a complex, layered cider with an extra clean, crisp apple character and a fresh citrus-y finish.

This attention to datail makes it a perfect food cider. Orpens also works super well in  punch or as an alternative to sparking wine in a kir, just add a drop of black currant liqueur or even some elderflower St. Germain would be just gorgeous!

Orpens Punch!
Orpens punch: rum, rhubarb and orpens cider!
Perfect at a barbeque!
Perfect at a barbeque!
Orpens with fish and chips.. yum!
Orpens Cider with fish and chips, the fish batter was made with Orpens..making it super light, crispy & yum!

Tempted? Cider: Summer sweet (500ml RRP €4.20- €4:50 ABV 5%)

From the moment I first tasted this cider at the Craft Beer and Cider festival in the RDS a few years ago I loved it.
It is the perfect summer’s day cider. Crisp and sweet at the same time, Summer Sweet Cider introduces a significant proportion of Tipperary bittersweet cider apples to Tempted medium sweet cider made from Armagh’s apple crop. A generous measure of pure pressed apple juice is added to make a light, refreshing Irish cider. Winner of the Gold award 2013 National Irish Food Awards (Blas na hEireann). A family business to its core (had to use that apple pun!) cidermaker Davy’s daugther divised the snazzy branding and the packaging! Oh and if you picking up a bottle of Summer Sweet seek out a bottle of the strawberry too; it’s a taste sensation!
Tempted cider range
Lots of independant off-licences including Celtic whiskey shop, Bradleys in Cork and Jus de Vine ,Portmarnock
Craigies Dalliance CiderBaggot Street Wines
Blackrock Cellar
Bradley’s Off-Licence
Callans Off Licence
Celtic Whiskey Shop Ltd.
Deveneys – Dundrum
Dicey Reilly’s Bar and Off-Licence
Donnybrook Fair Ltd.
Drink Store
Jus De Vine
Kelly’s Wine Vault
Martins Off Licence
McHughs Kilbarrack Road
Next Door @ Byrnes Kilcoole
O’Callaghans OL (Deveneys) (Rathmines)
O’Neills Off Licence
Redmonds Off-Licence
Revolution Gastro Bar Ltd
Salt House
Temple Bar Pub
The Sky on the Ground
No 21 Midelton
The Winding Stair
Matsons Wine Store Grange
Matsons Wine Store Bandon
Bello Bar
a wide range of independant off-licences Lovely restauants and bars and supermarkets check out their handy interactive map here
Nextdoor Kildare Town
Galvins Wines and Spirits

Superquinn Ltd

Ard Bia at Nimmos

Celtic Whiskey Shop Ltd

Molly Darcy’s Trad Irish Pub

Hotel Doolin

Locke Bar

Left Bank Bistro,

An Port Mor

Armada Hotel

Nancy’s Bar

Kelly’s Wine Vault

Kate Brownes Bar

Pavilion Bar and Nightclub

Sage Restaurant

Cafe Arnou

Casey’s of Baltimore

An Canteen

Jackson’s Hotel and Conference

Logues Bar

Yew Tree Restaurant

Hassetts Restaurant

Doolin Cafe

Bodega Waterford

Annies Bar & Restaurant

White House Bar

Worldwide Wines

Aubergine Gallary Cafe

Molloys Liquor Stores

Delphi Mountain Resort

Parnell Street Off Licence

The Purple Onion

La Boheme Restaurant
Bobby Byrnes Bar
Reginalds Tower Bar&Restaurant
CraneLane Theatre
Wholesome Fayre
Joyces SupermarketKnocknacarra
Castle Off Licence
Dicey Reillys Bar&Off Licence
The Counter
Mickey Finn’s
Bantry Bay Hotel
Blue Haven Hotel
Abbot Ale House
Charcoal Grill
Bella Vista Bar & Bistro
Cliff House Hotel
Egans Off Licence, portlaoise
Carry Out Glanmire
Paul Geaney’s Bar
Sol Bistro William Street
Next Door Desmonds Dublin
Green 19
Wallis’s Bar
Marina Inn
Mutton Lane Inn,
Eurospar Kilmainham
Wild Honey Inn
5th on Teeling
The Swagman Bar
Next Door Desmonds Limerick
Matson’s Wine Store
McGoverns Off Licence
Ballymascanlon House Hotel
fern hill golf club
The Malthouse
O’Flynn Gourmet Sausages
Lough Rynn Castle Ltd
Brewery Corner
Number 21 Off Licence Middleto
Next Door Youghal
Hegarty’s Supermarket,
LV Bar / Windsor Inn
Next Door James Street
Byrnes Restaurant and Accomoda
Queens Hotel Ltd
Hub Bar
Quayside Bar
Town & Country Club
Pifko Bar and Grill
Blarney Woolen Mills
Dela Restaurant
Nextdoor Shandon St
Mount Oval Bar
Sheen Falls Lodge
Crackpots, Kinsale
Super Valu Hurley’s
The Lord Mayors Off Licence
The Outpost Bar
Vasco Dine
gulpd cafe
Galvins Off Licence
Carry Out Off Licences